New York - Investigators looking into a deadly New York City
train derailment say no anomalies have been found with the train's brake
The metro-north Railroad commuter train was travelling on
Sunday at 130km/h as it approached a 48km/h zone and jumped the tracks along a
sharp curve. Four passengers died.
The national transportation safety board says investigators
haven't found any evidence of brake trouble during the train's nine previous
stops and no problems with track signals. NTSB member Earl Weener said on
Tuesday there were "no anomalies".
The rail employees union says veteran engineer William
Rockefeller was injured in the wreck and has co-operated with investigators. It
says the NTSB investigation will show "there was no criminal intent with
the operation of his train".
But Governor Andrew Cuomo has said Rockefeller should be
disciplined for "unjustifiable" speed.
"There's such a gross deviation from the norm,"
Cuomo said. "That amount of speed is certainly unjustifiable".
Union leader Anthony Bottalico said he was confident the
investigation would reveal there was no criminal intent.
Investigators began talking to the train's engineer, William
Rockefeller, on Monday but postponed completing the interview, likely until
Wednesday, national transportation safety board spokesperson Keith Holloway
said on Tuesday. Holloway wouldn't say why; Bottalico said it was because
Rockefeller hadn't slept in almost 24 hours and was "very
Bottalico said the engineer planned to have a lawyer
accompany him to the interview. The attorney didn't immediately return a call
Weener sketched a scenario suggesting that the throttle was
let up and the brakes were fully applied way too late to stave off the crash.
He said the throttle went to idle six seconds before the derailed train came to
a complete stop "very late in the game" for a train going that fast
and the brakes were fully engaged five seconds before the train stopped.
Investigators are not aware of any problems with the brakes
during the nine stops the train made before the derailment, Weener said.
Weener would not disclose what investigators know about the
engineer's version of events, and he said the results of drug and alcohol tests
were not yet available. Investigators are also examining Rockefeller's cellphone;
engineers are allowed to carry cellphones but prohibited from using them during
a train's run.
Positive train control, or PTC, is designed to forestall the
human errors that cause about 40% of train accidents. In 2008, Congress ordered
rail lines to adopt the technology by December 2015.
The metropolitan transportation authority, which runs
metro-north, began planning for a PTC system as soon as the law was put into
effect, spokesperson Marjorie Anders said.
But the MTA has advocated for an extension to 2018, saying
it's difficult to install such a system across more than 1 000 rail cars and 1
931km of track.
Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, which also is
served by metro-north, said Sunday's derailment underscored the need for the