Report: Metro-North train tried to slow down before N.Y. crash

The Metro-North train which struck an SUV on a rail crossing in Westchester County, N.Y. earlier this month attempted to slow down but was unable to stop in time to avoid the deadly collision, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The engineer slowed the train from 58 mph to 49 mph after spotting the vehicle on the rail crossing at Valhalla, N.Y., the NTSB said on Monday. Six people died in the collision, including the driver of the SUV in the crossing.

“The track speed in the area of the accident was 60 mph. Based on the NTSB’s preliminary review of the train’s event recorder data, the train was travelling at 58 mph prior to emergency braking and the horn was operated in accordance with operating rules on the approach to the crossing,” the report notes.

“The recorder indicated that the engineer activated the emergency brakes about 300 feet before the collision after observing what he characterized as, “a vehicle partially fouling the crossing”. Event recorder data indicated that in the 4 seconds after initiation of emergency braking the train slowed to 49 mph at which time it impacted the SUV,” the report said.

An estimated 650 passengers were on the train at the time of the crash. The driver of the SUV and five passengers died in the fiery crash.

Read the full report on the NTSB’s website.

Bill Cummings