Safety officials seek clues in CT train accident

Connecticut’s newest rail cars are the first in the nation built to new safety specifications, and their performance in last Friday’s derailment and subsequent collision will provide key, new information to transportation safety officials, according to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Malloy, speaking at a Monday evening press briefing, said 7 of the 76 people who were transported to hospitals or sought treatment on their own are still in medical facilities. One person remains in critical condition, he said.

First crash for new M8 rail cars

This is the first time the M8 rail cars have been involved in a crash, Malloy said, increasing the level of interest from transportation safety officials.

State Transportation Commissioner James. P. Redeker said these are the first cars in the United States manufactured to a new safety standard for “crash worthiness and protection.”

That, he and Malloy both said, raises the curiosity level by government officials on how the rail cars performed during the accident.

“They obviously seemed to withstand a terrific impact and protected customers,” Redeker said. “A good part of the investigation will be around this new design, the new safety standard, and how the cars performed.”

Physical failure may be accident cause

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Malloy said federal officials, including the FBI, have indicated that all evidence points away from terrorism.

The crash appears to be a physical failure, “as opposed to operator error,” or an act of terrorism, Malloy said. A piece of track may have dislodged.

The tracks are regularly inspected and repairs are made as they are needed, Redeker said.