NYC Train exceeded speed limit before crashing

On Dec. 1, a Metro-North Railroad train derailed, killing four people and injuring many more. The driver survived and was released from the hospital today. Investigators released a statement today revealing that before the crash, the train was traveling at approximately 82 mph in a 30 mph zone. 

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both reported on this breaking news, with a special header listed at the top of their websites. Both interpreted the news as a tragic accident, and included a personal anecdote from different witnesses or victims incorporated into their stories. 

 Both newspapers stated the truth of this story very plainly: “it remained unclear if the speed was the result of human error or faulty equipment. But the train’s data recorders, which revealed the speed, also indicated that the pressure on the throttle did not drop to zero until six seconds before the derailment….interviews with the engineer began on Monday but had not been completed. Drug and alcohol tests had been conducted, though Mr. Weener [a board member with the National Transportation Safety Board] said the results were not yet available. [The driver’s] cellphone has also been recovered,” reported in the Times. 

Both papers reported the basic facts of the report without any bias; especially free of blaming the driver as being the cause of the accident, before being proven guilty in a court of law. 

The statement made by the governor Mr. Cuomo was reiterated: “Mr. Cuomo said there were three possible causes for the accident: the condition of the tracks, an equipment failure or human error,” as reported in the Times. 

But, a paragraph down, another quote: “It’s like driving your car,” he said. “When you’re coming up to a curve, you slow down.” 

The Times article continues to include an anecdote of a passenger that normally took that same train ride, but would now suffer from delays due to the crash. 

However, the WSJ includes a piece of information that the Times left out: “The possibility that train speed was a factor seemed likely to revive debate over sophisticated anticrash systems Metro-North and other railroads must install by 2015, according to federal law. Metro-North is among the commuter systems that have told federal regulators they won’t meet the 2015 deadline…The MTA board approved spending $210 million to begin designing Metro-North’s train control system last month.”

This piece of information is very pertinent: “But one primary feature of the systems is a computer network that can automatically slow or stop trains if they approach dangerous sections of track too quickly.”

This article also includes an anecdote of a witness’s account of the train. 

As this is a breaking news update, not all information is available. Both newspapers reported the facts that are available accurately and fairly with no biases on the un-accused driver. But, WSJ painted a more complete picture of the story by including the piece of information of the upcoming update to the train tracks. 


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