High-speed rail crash causes destruction at Hoboken station
A train full of commuters has crashed at Hoboken railway station in the U.S. state of New Jersey, leaving at least 100 people injured.
The crash took place at a station in the city of Hoboken, some 7 miles outside New York City. According to the New Jersey emergency management system, there are people trapped inside the debris.
Emergency crews are attending the scene. Photos posted to social media reveal huge amounts of damage to both the train carriage and the station.
According to a local radio station anchor the train crashed through the ticket barriers and “into the reception area” of the station.
Busy commuter train smashes into station
Hoboken station is widely used by commuters making their way to work in Manhattan. Eyewitness Ban Fairclough told the BBC that the train looked to have become completely derailed.
“I wasn’t on the train, but I arrived just after it happened. There was water coming down off the roof and people climbing out through the windows,” he said. “There were people sitting down with blood coming from their head. There were lots of injuries.”
At least one person has reportedly died as a result of the crash. “There are fatalities,’’ said a senior transportation official, who requested anonymity due to a lack of authorization to speak publicly. “There are a significant number of injuries. The train was going very fast. There are structural concerns about the facility. “
Another eyewitness, Jason Danahy, was on the train. “From the fifth car, it felt like a major skid,” he said. “A creaking noise and a skid. I was lucky to be on the fifth car.”
Danahy spoke of the chaos that ensued after the crash. “I saw bloody noses,” he said. “I saw people crying.”
Passengers describe chaos in aftermath of crash
Four law enforcement officials told the media that the crash could have been an accident or caused by operator error. However they were quick to point out that the investigation is still at a very early stage.
The crash caused significant structural damage to Hoboken station. It looks as though the train plowed through a bumper stop at the end of the track before coming to a halt between the platform and the waiting area.
Video footage from a helicopter showed glass arches on the roof of the building bent inward. Passengers report that the train did appear to be traveling faster than normal on its way into the station, but they didn’t realize anything was wrong until it crashed.
“You felt like this huge, huge bang,” said passenger Steve Mesiano. “The lights went off, and then you started to see like –- I was in the window seat, so I could see like outside, what was happening, and the roof just collapsed on the first car.”
Some of the passengers took to Twitter, saying that they were “lucky to be alive.” Others said that people were screaming for help from inside the first car.
A Twitter post from New Jersey Transit revealed that services to Hoboken station would be suspended as a result of the crash. Local buses and ferries accepted train tickets to get people to and from their destination.
According to Matthew Lehner, spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration, the agency has sent investigators to Hoboken station.
Inventor and professor John Banzhaf claims that there is a simple solution available that would prevent these kinds of crashes from happening. Instead of waiting for a complicated system known as Positive Train Control (PTC) to be rolled out, authorities could use GPS systems that are currently used in cars to control the speed of trains.
“From an engineering point of view,” reads a press release, “there is no reason why these car-type GPS control systems could not be mounted on trains now, long before PTC could become operational.”