Connecticut lawmakers discussed the deadly train crash in New Jersey on Thursday morning.
At least one person died after a transit train crashed into a terminal station platform during rush hour commute in Hoboken, NJ. More than 100 people were injured in the crash.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy called the commuter train crash "a horrific tragedy."
“Commuters throughout Connecticut rely on trains just like this each and every day, and we need to make sure people feel safe. What we know is that every tragedy is preventable, and if safety mechanisms like positive train control could have stopped the train in its tracks, then Congress's continued foot dragging on rail investment is all the more outrageous. The Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board must conduct an immediate, thorough investigation into the crash, and Congress has to do its job to protect all transit commuters," Murphy said in a statement on Thursday.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said this "horrific crash" was "hauntingly similar to past tragedies involving insufficient or unsafe practices or equipment."
"Although the investigation is ongoing, this catastrophe was caused by a runaway train – traveling too fast and out of control. There is no excuse for this preventable tragedy. There is an urgent need to invest in rail safety nationwide including technology like Positive Train Control, as well as new equipment and better training. Having advocated and fought for Positive Train Control and opposed delays in requiring it, my hope is that there is added impetus and momentum for immediate, stronger rail safety efforts. If the NTSB discovers steps railroads can take to prevent similar incidents during its investigation, I urge the agency to share such information immediately. In the meantime, my heart goes out to loved ones and victims and my gratitude to the many first-responders," Blumenthal said in a statement on Thursday.
The train was not equipped with positive train control. Blumenthal said he wants to work to change that.
"Progress is being made Amtrak now has Positive train controls in most of its line, metro north does not," Blumenthal said. "In Connecticut we are as vulnerable to this kind of crash due to excessive speed or driver error because metro north lacks positive train control and it is absent from parts of our tracks so we ought to take a lesson whatever the cause here whatever the investigation shows clearly systems like positive train control can prevent tragedies."
The crash also caused a chain reaction for commuters.
"As soon as I heard it I was on my phone texting people calling people to find out," Brian Piwarzyk said.
Piwarzyk was taking the train home to New Jersey on Thursday evening. Piwarzyk said he wonders what he will find when he gets there.
"I've got to believe it's going to be a little bit crazy," Piwarzyk said. Fortunately, most of the folks were in work or didn't go through Hoboken on Thursday morning. Piwarzyk said he missed the deadly crash at the Hoboken terminal and came to Connecticut before the crash took place.
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