On December 1, a train bound to New York City suddenly derailed. The train was near where the Harlem River meets the Hudson River, on a big turn. The accident occurred at about 7:20 a.m.
The train, driven by operator William Rockefeller, rounded a 30 mile per hour speed limit turn. The train was moving at 82 miles per hour when it rounded the turn, and suddenly each of the seven passenger cars derailed.
Amanda Swanson, a twenty-six year old survivor, Amanda Swanson described the windows of the train cars bursting and then “gravel came flying up in our faces… I really didn’t know if I would survive. The train felt like it was on its side and dragging for a long time.”
One of the cars landed close to the river, but none of the passengers’ bodies were found in the water. Rescue crews quickly arrived at the scene, helping the wounded and seeing that everyone was accounted for. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo quickly arrived and surveyed the scene with state officials.
While this accident was devastating, with four dead and sixty-seven injured, it wasn’t the first to occur on this particular bend of the railway. Last July, a freight train was derailed there, damaging about 1,500 feet of track.
The accident is under intense investigation to find out the cause and how others can be prevented in the future. The reason for the cars derailing has yet to be determined.
The National Transportation Safety Board stated that the throttle was cut six seconds before the accident, and brakes were applied only five seconds before the cars were derailed. This data was taken from recorders on the train, and does not explain all the details about the crash.