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Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Subway and Train Accident

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howard Hersenhorn smallNew York Train Accident Lawyer Howard Hershenhorn  is representing one of the four victims who were killed when a sleeping engineer derailed a speeding train in the Bronx in 2013. He was recently quoted in a Lohud article related to this accident. Here is what he told the newspaper about the NTSB leniency toward William Rockefeller, the train operator:   “I think it’s an outrage that the NTSB gave him a pass because of the alleged undiagnosed sleep apnea, and his shift being changed. For God’s sakes, he’s a train operator.”

The article indicates that in the years before the fatal train accident, union members questioned the safety of  the Spuyten Duyvil curve and recommended installing a a system that automatically activates the brakes on a speeding train when an engineer is unresponsive but Metro-North never addressed their concern.

Read the complete article 


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As part of its investigation into the Amtrak train accident that killed 8 and injured more than 200 people, the National Transportation Safety Board thoroughly analysed the engineer’s cell phone calls, texts, data and cell phone tower transmission activity records from the phone carrier; and records from Amtrak’s on-board Wi-Fi system. This analysis indicates that the engineer was not using his cell phone while operating the train.  Read the NTSB press release

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Rail Road curve amtrak accident locationPreliminary data show that the Amtrak train crash that killed 7 people and injured more than 200 others was related to speeding.

The train was traveling at a speed of 106 miles per hour just before the curve (see picture) while it should have been traveling at 50 mph. The train engineer, 32 year old Brandon Bostian from Queens, NYC, applied the emergency breaks “just moments’ before the train derailed.

The engineer didn’t provide much information to the police and his lawyer said he has no explanation for the crash.

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Train engineerThe Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was passed by Congress 1 month after 25 people died in a train crash in L.A.  Investigators found that just before the accident, the train engineer who was texting on his cell phone missed a signal indicating that a freight train was ahead of him on the same track and that he shouldn’t have proceeded on this track.  The train crashed at full speed in the freight train killing 25 people and injuring many of the 300 passengers on board.  5 weeks after the accident, the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was passed by Congress, requiring that all trains be equipped with positive train control system by the end of 2015.

Positive Train Control is a basic crash avoidance system that monitors speed limits and track signals  electronically and signal to the engineer if something is wrong. If the engineer doesn’t respond to the signal, the Positive Train Control system automatically takes over and decrease the speed or stop the train.

The rail industry has been pushing hard to delay the upgrade and have been trying to push the end of 2015 deadline even further.  If the railroad industry had been more proactive and the system had been implemented immediately after the Rail Safety Improvement Act was passed, train accidents such as the Amtrak Accident (see previous blog) that happened two days ago and killed 7 people as well the Metro-North derailment that happened in New York in 2013 and killed 4 passengers could have been avoided.

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Amtrak AccidentAn Amtrak train heading from New York to Washington DC derailed yesterday night in Philadelphia. 6 people died and many the 243 passengers of suffered personal injury and were taken to the hospital. Among the people injured 6 of them were in critical condition. The Amtrak accident happened yesterday night around 9:30 close to Frankford Avenue and Wheatsheaf Lane near a bend in the track. One of the nation’s deadliest railroad accidents happened in the same spot on Labor Day 1943. A train carrying military service members on leave derailed killing 79 of them and injuring 117. The cause of yesterday’s train accident is still unknown. Speed as well deteriorating infrastructure and aging equipment are among the potential factors to be investigated. Former Congressman  Patrick J. Murphy was on board when the accident happened and tweeted the pictures on the left.
Read more about this train accident in the New York Times

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A preliminary report related to the accident between a northbound Metro-North Railroad passenger train and  a 2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 sports utility vehicle (SUV) that killed six people in Valhalla, NY was published a few days ago by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The accident happened on February 3rd 2015 . The report indicates that witnesses saw the SUV stopped on the railroad crossing before the gate went down. As the gate lowered it fell on the back of the car. The driver exited the car, looked at the back and went back in the car. She then proceeded to drive forward when she was struck by the train. The driver of the train operated the emergency brake 300 feet before the collision and hit the SUV at a speed of 49mph. As the train and the car continued to travel northbound, a dozen large pieces of the electrified third rail detached, piercing the SUV, tearing into the first passenger car in two locations and setting it on fire.  The preliminary report doesn’t provide any information on how and why the third rail pieces were able to detach.  Furthermore according to the NTSB the warning lights, alarms and gate arms were functioning however the accident  has prompted new attention to the safety of such crossings around the New York City region. Read more in the New York Times


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A man was fatally struck by a subway after he fell on the track in the Bronx, NYC, last week. The victim was hit by the southbound 6 train at the St. Lawrence Ave. station about 6:15 a.m., officials said. The police are still investigating the cause of the accident.

Read more in the NY Daily News

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A contractor who was supposed to expand a construction well as part of the MTA East Side Access project used a massive drill bit at the wrong location and pierced a F train tunnel at the same time as the train was passing by. The drill bit cut the top and the side of the train triggering the train’s emergency brakes. It’s a miracle that nobody was injured.

The MTA East Side Access Project is a mega construction project from the MTA to bring Long Island Rail Road trainsto Grand Central Station. The contractor has been identified as Griffin Dewatering New England Inc.

The accident happened near the 21st St subway station In Long Island City, Queens, NYC.

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The Metro North Train accident that killed 4 people and injured at least 61 on December 1st 2013 was caused by the engineer’s noncompliance with the 30-mph speed restriction because he had fallen asleep due to undiagnosed severe obstructive sleep apnea exacerbated by a recent circadian rhythm shift required by his work schedule.

According to a report released Today by the National Transportation Safety Board, the accident could have been avoided if Metro North and the Federal Railroad Administration had a policy requiring medical screening for sleep disorders and if the train was equipped with a system that would have automatically applied the brakes to enforce the speed restriction.

The NTSB also released Today the following Metro North train accident reports:

  • A report on the March 10, 2014 train accident during which an electrician was fatally struck by a train in Manhattan, New York
  • A report on the July 18,2013 accident during which a train transporting municipal refuse derailed in the Bronx, New York
  • A report on the May 28, 2013 accident during which a track foreman was struck and killed by a train in West Haven, Connecticut
  • A report on the May 17, 2013 accident during which two trains collided, injuring at least 65 passengers in Bridgeport, Connecticut
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Nobody was injured in a train accident in Maspeth, Queens, NYC, during which a Long Island Rail Road Locomotive jumped the tracks and spilled diesel fuel. The locomotive was on a freight line, coming from Jamaica going to Long Island City when the accident happened. The line is only used for freight such as large containers of garbage and to move equipment. According to the NY Daily News, residents who live near the tracks are concerned about repeated train accidents along the freight rail lines in Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale.