Source: Federal audit of N.J. Transit indicated "dozens of safety violations"

Railroad safety violations

The investigation continues into Thursday’s deadly train accident in Hoboken, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York City.

A woman on the platform was killed when the commuter train smashed through a concrete wall, and more than 100 were injured.

A source familiar the investigation tells CBS News that after months of concern about a “leadership vaccum” at New Jersey transit, federal regulators launched a “deep audit” of the agency’s operations in June.  It discovered “dozens of safety violations.  Regulators were preparing to implement additional scrutiny and enforcement measures prior to Thursday’s accident.

NTSB searches for clues into cause of deadly N.J. Transit train crash

New Jersey Transit did not respond to our requests for comment.

Late Saturday, the train’s engineer--Thomas Gallagher--ducked into the garage at his new jersey home after meeting with investigators. The NTSB did not release details from that interview.

“He’ll tell us if he was attempting to work the throttle, if he was attempting to brake, he will tell us if he tried to put the emergency brake on,” Former chair of the NTSB Mark Rosenker tells CBS News. “He’ll see, he’ll tell us if he saw signals, he will tell us exactly what happened in that cab.”

Work to remove debris and possible asbestos contamination at the Hoboken station crash site continued, keeping investigators from the crucial data recorder and front facing camera in the first car.

“As soon as the site is safe, the NTSB will remove the other event recorder and other forward facing camera,” NTSB vice-chair Bella Dinh-Zarr said at a press conference Thursday. “Investigators will use that information to validate speed and get that information about the train.”

The second data recorder, removed the from the rear of the train, could not be accessed from the field and has been sent to the manufacturer.

Investigators found no signs of signal or track issues and continue to collect video from the scene including from other trains at the station during the crash. 

It’s not only the NTSB waiting for full access to the train station, there are thousands of commuters that use it to get to work that are left wondering what the Monday morning commute will look like. 

  • Kris Van Cleave

    Kris Van Cleave is the transportation correspondent for CBS News.