NJ Transit Was Under Federal Audit Before Train Crash

Investigation is ongoing, NTSB says.

ByABC News
October 1, 2016, 8:45 PM

— -- New Jersey Transit was under an audit by the Federal Railroad Administration, in part because of concerns about safety violations, months before a fatal crash in Hoboken last week that left one person dead and 114 injured, a source familiar with the audit told ABC News.

The FRA began taking a closer look at NJ Transit early this year for two reasons -- "a leadership vacuum" and because the FRA "started to see more violations of safety rules," the source said.

A "deep audit" of the NJT that was begun in the spring and completed in June, looking mostly at operations, found "dozens of safety violations," mostly in the operations area, and the FRA informed the NJT of the violations, the source said. Violations were transmitted and a monetary penalty was issued.

Prior to the Hoboken incident, the FRA was "preparing next steps" and "considering more enforcement actions," but FRA had not acted on it, the source said.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating Thursday's crash of NJ Transit Pascack Valley Line train No. 1614 into the platform of the Hoboken Terminal, said in a statement today that no determination has been reached on what caused the crash.

NTSB investigators have spoken to the train's engineer, Thomas Gallagher, 48, who was injured in the crash, but said no summary of what was said would be released until all interviews are completed. According to a law enforcement official, preliminary tests indicate he was likely not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.

According to an NTSB statement released today, there were no signal anomalies found on the tracks leading to the terminal, but because the train that crashed is still in the terminal, a full study of the signals has not been completed.

Investigators have completed the walking inspection of the track and found nothing that would have affected the performance of the train, the NTSB said.

Video from other trains in the station at the time of the crash is being reviewed to determine whether there is anything of value to the investigation, but video from the train that crashed is still not accessible, according to the NTSB.