Deadly Hoboken Train Crash Complicated Due to Asbestos in Train Station

According to the New York Times, HOBOKEN, N.J. — Federal investigators have still not inspected the train that slammed into a busy transportation hub here, killing a woman and injuring more than 100 others, because of the extensive damage at the scene of the crash.

A day after the crash set off a panic at the station during the morning commute, federal investigators have provided few answers about why the train careened into a wall. Officials said that they had not yet interviewed the train’s engineer or examined most of the train.

Jim Southworth, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, said he had not sent investigators into the front of the train because of concerns over asbestos and the structural integrity of the building. The damage from the train’s impact caused part of the terminal’s roof to collapse.  “Because of the asbestos, because of the unsettled structures that we’re not sure about, I’m not allowing anybody to go in there,” Mr. Southworth said at a news conference. “None of the evidence in there is perishable, so I have the time to go in there.”

Federal investigators said they could not estimate when the historic station, Hoboken Terminal, might reopen or when they would remove the train from the tracks, prompting questions over how long New Jersey Transit’s train service to the station might remain suspended.  At the station, part of the collapsed roof was resting on top of the front of the train.  “As you can imagine we don’t want anyone to go in there until it’s completely stable,” Ms. Dinh-Zarr said.  Another obstacle facing investigators is the likely presence of asbestos inside the 109-year-old Beaux-Arts building that houses Hoboken Terminal, Ms. Dinh-Zarr said.

The closing of Hoboken Terminal, which serves six New Jersey Transit rail lines, forced commuters to make do with contingency plans provided by New Jersey Transit, the third-busiest commuter rail system in the country. New Jersey Transit officials said they could not restart service until receiving approval from the safety board.  If train service at the station remains suspended for days or weeks, many New Jerseyans could be forced to consider painful travel options and heavy crowds on other train lines and buses.

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