The train was clocked at 21 mph before the engineer used emergency braking less than a second before the impact, but entered the station only traveling 8 mph according to the agency. After the engineer blew the horn and activated the bells, the train suddenly accelerated 38 seconds before it derailed at the end of Track 5, according to a press release. It was originally estimated that the train was traveling two to three times the speed limit.
This contradicts what 48-year-old train operator, Thomas Gallagher claimed. Gallagher, who said he woke up on the floor after being knocked unconscious, told the NTSB he didn’t remember anything about the crash and believes he was only going 10 mph. The information was extracted from a second device recorder, which was recovered from the train on Tuesday as well as a front-facing video footage from the wreckage. Both were shipped to a lab in Washington, D.C. Investigators also recovered the train operator’s backpack, which contains a cellphone that will also be looked at.
An initial black box recorder was recovered from the back of the train, but proved to be useless because it reportedly was not working. The device was built in 1995. The deadly crash claimed the life of Hoboken resident Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, a 34-year-old mother of an 18-month-old. De Kroon was on the platform and hit with debris from the ceiling.