NTSB says communication failure likely led to UWS subway train derailment

WABC logo
Friday, January 26, 2024
Questions linger after NTSB issues report on subway derailment in Manhattan
Josh Einiger reports from the Upper West Side with the details.

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report Thursday into the derailment of a No. 1 subway train earlier this month.

A northbound New York City Transit train collided with a northbound train on the 1 line just north of the 96th Street station on Jan. 4.

About 22 passengers and three crew members suffered minor injuries.

In interviews with NTSB investigators, the flagger directing the train said he lost radio communications with the transit system supervisor operating the controls of the sixth railcar near the 96th Street station.

The supervisor did not receive the flagger's instruction to stop, the train passed by a signal requiring a stop at the end of the 96th Street station platform, and the collision occurred.

"I'm yelling, 'now -- stop the train, stop the train, stop the train,' if he doesn't adhere to my verbal commands, I'm helpless," transit worker Andy Valentine told Eyewitness News reporter N.J. Burkett in an exclusive interview.

The track in the area was equipped with trip-stops, which activate a train's emergency brakes if the train passes through a signal requiring a stop.

Because the brakes on the first five railcars had been cut out, emergency brakes could not be activated by the trip-stop.

The NTSB will now focus on NYC Transit's operating procedures when moving bad order cars, radio communication procedures, mechanical procedures when placing a revenue train in bad order status, and the lack of federal requirements for railcar event recorders on FTA regulated properties.

The MTA says it's ready for whatever the investigation reveals.

"My expectation is the NTSB will have a professional report, they'll give us recommendations and how to improve," NYC Transit President Richard Davey said.

He spoke out on Eyewitness News Mornings @ 10 about the investigation:

NYC transit president Richard Davey talks UWS train derailment and future preventative measures.

ALSO READ | Exclusive: Train operator says warning signs were ignored in subway derailment

N.J. Burkett has the exclusive sitdown.



* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More Manhattan news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.