The Metro-North commuter train that derailed in the Bronx — killing four people and injuring dozens — was traveling at a "harrowing" 82 mph as it hit a curve where the limit was 30 mph, officials said Monday.
That is "very late in the game," Weener said.The throttle was engaged until six seconds before the locomotive came to a stop on its side, and the brakes were fully applied only five seconds before, National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener said.
He said it was unclear if the engineer, a 20-year veteran, hit the brakes and they failed, or he simply tried to slow down or stop too late.
“The question is: Was this human error or faulty equipment? And the answer is at this point in time we can’t tell," Weener said.But he noted that even before the train approached the bend and was supposed slow down, it had already blown a higher speed limit of 70 mph.
"When I heard about the speed, I gulped. It kind of takes your breath away," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who noted that any conclusions about the cause of the excessive speed would be "premature."
"There’s one obvious point here, which is that the train did make nine stops before coming to this curve," Schumer added. "So clearly the brakes were working a short time before it came to this curve."