New York train crash kills six

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Train struck car that had stopped on tracks at crossing in Valhalla, killing vehicle’s driver and five on board Metro-North service

Six people were killed when a commuter train collided with a car north of New York City on Tuesday night. A dozen more people were injured, authorities said.

The northbound train struck a Jeep Cherokee at a railroad crossing in Valhalla, about 20 miles (32km) north of New York City, Metro-North Railroad spokesman Aaron Donovan said. The SUV’s driver was killed along with five people on board the train, he said.

The track gates had come down on top of the SUV, which was stopped on the tracks, the Metro-North spokesman said. The driver got out to look at the rear of the vehicle, then got back in and had begun to drive forward when the train hit, he said.

The train pushed the SUV about 10 train car lengths along the tracks and the front carriage caught fire.

Passenger Stacey Eisner, who was at the rear of the train, told NBC News that she felt the train “jerk” and then a conductor walked through explaining what had happened. She said her train car was evacuated about 10 minutes later using ladders to get people out.

The rail passengers were moved to the rear of the train, which had left Grand Central Terminal about 45 minutes earlier.

Passengers got off from the rear of the train. About 400 of them were taken to a local rock climbing gym for shelter. Buses were sent to pick them up and take them to their destinations.

Service on a portion of Metro-North’s Harlem Line was suspended.

Metro-North is the nation’s second-busiest railroad, after the Long Island Rail Road. It was formed in 1983, and serves about 280,000 riders a day in New York and Connecticut.

In late 2013 the National Transportation Safety Board issued rulings on five Metro-North accidents that occurred in New York and Connecticut in 2013 and 2014, repeatedly finding fault with the railroad while also noting that conditions had improved. Among the accidents was a derailment that killed four people in the Bronx. The NTSB said the engineer had fallen asleep at the controls because he had a severe undiagnosed case of sleep apnoea.

 

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