NJ Transit to now require engineer and conductor in front train car when entering Hoboken

NJ Transit will soon require an engineer and a conductor to ride in the front train car when arriving at Hoboken Terminal. (Photo Credit: Ben Faircloth)

NJ Transit will soon require an engineer and a conductor to ride in the front train car when arriving at Hoboken Terminal. (Photo Credit: Ben Faircloth) (10/5/16)

HOBOKEN - A New Jersey Transit spokesperson says the transit agency has issued a new rule stating a conductor and engineer must rise in the front train car while the train approaches Hoboken Terminal.

The new rule was put in place after a Pascack Valley Line train crashed into the terminal last week, killing a 34-year-old woman and injuring over 100 others.

New Jersey resident Karl Ward wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post this week describing his ordeal of being in the first train car during the crash. Ward says he was badly injured and puts blame on politicians for not spending enough money on rail safety.

Federal standards recently mandated changes like positive train control systems, which automatically slows trains down in certain areas, but the deadline to install these systems was recently extended. There was no PTC system in place in Hoboken.

The American Public Transportation Association says it urges riders to wait until the investigation into the accident is complete before jumping to conclusions. The group stressed that public transport is very safe, accidents are rare and safety and security is the No. 1 priority.

Hoboken resident James Bessette tells News 12 New Jersey that he never heard the train apply any brakes. Bessette was injured by debris while standing on the platform.

“I have several injuries. I have trouble sleeping at night,” Bessette says.

The NTSB says the train's speed has not been determined. The speed limit into the terminal is 10 mph, but witnesses say the train may have been traveling two or three times faster.

The train’s event recorder and a cellphone belonging to engineer Thomas Gallagher have been sent to NTSB labs in Washington.

Parts of Hoboken Terminal remain closed and NJ Transit Rail service has been suspended at the station.

A NJ Transit spokesperson did not have a timetable for when the new rule would go into effect.

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