WGXC-90.7 FM

Metro-North engineer is Germantown resident

Dec 03, 2013 6:58 am
Jim Fitzgerald and Frank Eltman of The Associated Press are reporting the Metro-North commuter train that derailed over the weekend, killing four passengers, was traveling at 82 mph as it entered a 30 mph curve, a federal investigator said Mon., Dec. 2. But whether the wreck was the result of human error or mechanical trouble was unclear, he said. Rail experts said the tragedy might have been prevented if Metro-North Railroad had installed automated crash-avoidance technology that safety authorities have been urging for decades. Asked why the train was going so fast, National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener said: “That’s the question we need to answer.” Weener would not disclose what the engineer operating the train told investigators, and he said results of drug and alcohol tests were not yet available. The engineer, William Rockefeller of Germantown, was injured in the crash. Investigators are examining Rockefeller’s cellphone, apparently to determine whether he was distracted. Weener sketched a scenario that suggested the train’s throttle was let up and the brakes were fully applied way too late to stave off disaster. Investigators are unaware of any problems with the brakes during the nine stops the train made before the derailment. Read the full Associated Press story in the Register Star.