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End-of-Track Collisions at Terminal Stations: Hoboken, New Jersey, September 29, 2016 and Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn, New York, January 4, 2017
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 End-of-Track Collisions at Terminal Stations: Hoboken, New Jersey, September 29, 2016 and Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn, New York, January 4, 2017

Summary

​The National Transportation Safety Board launched investigative teams to two very similar accidents within 13 weeks of one another. In both accidents, the engineers failed to stop their trains before reaching the end of a terminating track at a station. The September 29, 2016, accident on the New Jersey Transit commuter railroad at Hoboken, New Jersey, killed one person, injured 110, and resulted in major damage to the passenger station. The January 4, 2017, accident on the Long Island Rail Road (a subsidiary of Metropolitan Transportation Authority) at the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, New York, injured 108 people.

As the National Transportation Safety Board investigations progressed, it became apparent that these accidents had almost identical probable causes and safety issues. The National Transportation Safety Board also realized that these safety issues were not unique to these two properties, but exist throughout the United States at many intercity passenger and commuter passenger train terminals.

This special investigation report includes discussions of both accidents, examines the common safety issues, and reviews the steps taken by New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road in response to these accidents.

This report addresses the following safety issues:

  • Improving measures to ensure that engineers are fit for duty. The National Transportation Safety Board has found untreated obstructive sleep apnea to be a causal factor in many highway and railroad accidents.
  • Installing positive train control at terminal tracks. All passenger railroads that operate terminals with terminating tracks, including New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road, have asked to be excluded from installing positive train control and the Federal Railroad Administration has granted all the requests.
  • Developing and implementing safety management systems. In these accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board did not find evidence of either New Jersey Transit or Long Island Rail Road having a formal hazard analysis for trains operating into a terminal track, despite earlier accidents on both railroads where trains had struck the bumping post at the end of the track. Although the accidents were significantly less severe than the accidents discussed here, they established that the hazard existed and that another accident could occur.

The National Transportation Safety Board is issuing two new safety recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration and two new safety recommendations to New Jersey Transit and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. In addition, the National Transportation Safety Board is reiterating two safety recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration.

 

Related Information

Investigations:

New Jersey Transit Train Strikes Wall in Hoboken Terminal

Long Island Rail Road Passenger Train Strikes Platform in Atlantic Terminal

Events

2/6/2018 - Board Meeting: 2 Bumping Post Collision Investigations