NTSB links investigations on two metro NY commuter crashes

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NTSB rail safety investigator Jim Southworth (right) and Sandy Rowlett, Deputy Director of the Office of Rail, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Investigations (left) conduct an initial survey of the damage to the Long Island Rail Road train involved in the bumping post collision in the Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn, N.Y.
NTSB Photo by Peter Knudson
WASHINGTON — Dockets for the fatal, Sept. 29, 2016, NJ Transit commuter rail collision in Hoboken, N.J., and the Jan. 4, 2017, Long Island Rail Road collision at the Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn, N.Y., were opened to the public Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board as part of its ongoing investigations of the two accidents.

The agency is also preparing a Special Investigation Report focused on the findings from both the NJ Transit and Long Island Rail Road accidents. The Special Investigation Report will include recommendations based on those findings.

The commonalities in the accidents — both involving bumping post collisions at the end of a track in a terminal — warrant a singular discussion of the related safety issues. Combining each accident report with a Special Investigation Report allows each to be addressed in a single board meeting. The NTSB has scheduled that board meeting for Feb. 6, 2018, in the NTSB Board Room and Conference Center, 429 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, Washington, beginning 9:30 a.m.

The public docket for these investigations contains only factual information collected by NTSB investigators, affording those with a need and desire for its contents the opportunity to review the information gathered about the accidents. The public docket does not provide analysis, findings, recommendations or probable cause determinations, and as such, no conclusions about how or why an accident occurred should be drawn from the information in the docket. The probable causes, findings and recommendations are discussed and voted upon at the board meeting and published in a final report.

A special investigation report is similar to an accident report in that it reports and analyzes facts, draws conclusions, and makes recommendations. It differs from accident reports in that it usually involves more than one accident investigation and includes briefs of the accidents with the probable cause determination.

The dockets for the NJ Transit commuter rail collision and the Long Island Rail Road collision are available online.

The board meeting is open to the public and will be webcast for those who cannot attend in person. A link to the webcast will be available shortly before the start of the meeting.

— A National Transportation Safety Board news release. Sept. 22, 2017.

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