NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. – Thirty-three people were injured, four seriously, when two Long Island Rail Road trains, one carrying about 600 people, sideswiped each other Saturday night, authorities said Sunday.
The collision, of a maintenance train and a commuter train as they traveled eastbound, sheared chunks off the commuter train cars, several of which derailed just east of New Hyde Park station in Nassau County, trapping frightened passengers in the darkened cars for nearly an hour as rescue crews worked to free them.
"When you look at the actual damage of the situation, the silver lining is we're fortunate that more people weren't severely hurt," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said at a news conference at the scene of the crash Sunday. Behind him, three of the 12 commuter cars sat tipped at odd angles on the track, with deep gashes in the steel visible along the length of the train.
The cause of the collision, in which the maintenance train entered the track space of the commuter train, is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and is not yet known. It occurred just after 9 p.m. on Saturday on the Oyster Bay line. The crash closed the line in both directions; officials plan to reopen it, at least partially, by Monday.
The crash comes just over a week after a New Jersey Transit commuter train barreled into the station wall at Hoboken Terminal, killing one person and injuring more than 100. Officials have said that train accelerated dramatically as it pulled into the station, rather than slowing down, and the investigation was continuing.
"Issues with trains colliding with other trains or other objects occur on railroads all the time," Thomas Prendergast, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the Long Island Rail Road, said Sunday. "Why it ended up where it did — violating the clearance of the other track — that's what we need to find out in the investigation."
New York Times