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Hoboken train crash: What we know and what we don’t know

A New Jersey Transit commuter train from New York crashed into the Hoboken rail station Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, during the morning rush hour. TV footage and photos from the scene show damage to the rail car and extensive structural damage to the station. Casualties include at least one death and many injuries. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

As the situation in Hoboken, New Jersey, continues to develop after a commuter train slammed into the station during the morning rush on Thursday, here are the facts that are known so far.

What we know

  • NJ Transit train No. 1614, on the Pascack Valley line, crashed into the Hoboken rail station at about 8:45 a.m., after running off the end of its track.
  • A Hoboken woman who was standing on the platform, identified as Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, was killed by debris. More than 100 people were injured.
  • The train engineer, identified by New Jersey Transit as Thomas Gallagher, a 29-year employee, was released from the hospital, and is cooperating with the investigation.
  • NJ Transit service to Hoboken remained suspended late Thursday. PATH service between Hoboken and New York City has been fully restored.
  • The train, carrying 250 people, was traveling at a high rate of speed, officials said.
  • The National Transportation Safety Board did expect to retrieve the train’s “black box” event recorder, which contains information on the train’s speed, Thursday.
  • The NTSB will also investigate whether positive train control — the federally mandated crash prevention technology that is supposed to be in place on all railroads by 2018 — could have prevented the crash.
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo visited the crash site Thursday afternoon.
  • In 2011, a similar crash injured more than 30 people at the same station; an investigation showed the engineer failed to control the train’s speed. In 1985, another similar crash injured 54 people; the crash was blamed on residue of slippery gel that was left on the tracks after routine testing.

What we don’t know

  • The exact nature of injuries sustained by the victims.
  • What caused the crash.
  • Exactly how fast the train was going.
  • The structural integrity of the station, or when it might reopen for NJ Transit service.

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