Preliminary Report on Investigation of Hoboken Train Accident Released

Oct. 14, 2016
The National Transportation Safety Board released Thursday its preliminary report on the investigation of the Sept. 29, 2016, accident involving New Jersey Transit train 1614 at the Hoboken Terminal, Hoboken, New Jersey.

The National Transportation Safety Board released Thursday its preliminary report on the investigation of the Sept. 29, 2016, accident involving New Jersey Transit train 1614 at the Hoboken Terminal, Hoboken, New Jersey. 

One person died and 110 more were injured when the 400-foot long train, which consisted of a controlling passenger car (cab car), three passenger cars and one locomotive at the rear, failed to stop, overrode a bumping post, and struck a wall of the terminal.

The preliminary report details factual information gained to date in the investigation.  It does not contain analysis and does not state probable cause.  The information contained within the preliminary report is subject to change as data is validated.

The NTSB investigator-in-charge formed the following technical groups to gather information and evidence for the investigation:

  • Operations
  • Human Performance
  • Survival Factors
  • Signal Systems
  • Track and Engineering
  • Mechanical/Equipment
  • Event/Video Data Recorders

Both the engineer and conductor were interviewed by NTSB investigators.  The emergency response to the accident is being reviewed by investigators as are records for operations, signal systems, mechanical equipment and track and engineering. Investigators inspected the track structure, signal system and mechanical equipment involved in the accident.

Investigators tested the signal and train control system; the accident route was duplicated with signal alignment and functioned as designed.  The signal system was restored to service with the exception of the damaged signal at the end of track 5, the track upon which the accident happened.

NTSB investigators found the cab car’s electrical communication network – necessary for brake, signal, and propulsion control – was destroyed in the accident.  Conversely, accident damage to the cab car’s air brake system was minor and was repaired for testing.  The train brakes functioned as designed during a friction brake test using the rear locomotive to apply the brakes.

Parties to the investigation include the Federal Railroad Administration, New Jersey Transit, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division and Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen.