Collision closes New York area train route as NTSB investigates (+video)

A team from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived Saturday to investigate a commuter rail collision that caused a prominent railroad line near New York City to be partially closed.

By , Staff writer

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    Emergency workers arrive at the scene of a train collision in Fairfield, Conn. The accident involved a New York-bound train leaving New Haven. It derailed and hit a westbound train.
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A commuter rail collision Friday injured more than 60 people and left behind a scene of damage that has caused a prominent railroad line near New York City to be partially closed.

Amtrak service between New York and New Haven, Conn., is also closed while the incident is investigated and damage repaired.

At about 6:10 p.m. Friday a Metro-North train heading east from New York City derailed outside Bridgeport, Conn., and was hit by a westbound train on an adjacent track. Some 700 passengers were on board the trains, the Associated Press reported.

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The cause was unclear. Some local officials said it did not appear to be terrorism, and a team from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived Saturday to investigate issues ranging from crew performance to the condition of the track.

The New York area’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) said its commuter rail service between South Norwalk and New Haven is suspended until further notice, while regular service will operate between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal.

Commuters could be affected all week as the investigation proceeds.

The MTA said damage on the two affected tracks is “extensive,” and that the two other tracks on this segment of the railway are out of service for a project replacing overhead wires.

“The [damaged] train cars cannot be removed until the on-scene investigation is complete, and they will need to be removed by crane,” the MTA said.

According to news reports, more than 60 people went to hospitals with injuries related to the collision.

Commuter rail accidents are relatively rare. One federal study, looking at the decade between 1996 and 2005, found a declining rate of accidents (with 33 accidents or incidents per million total commuter-train miles in 2005).

Injuries generally totaled fewer than 2,000 per year, and fatalities fewer than 100 per year, during that 10-year period.

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