The commuter train came in too fast and hit the barrier at the end of the platform at about 12 mph, smashing the front of the engine and crunching the leading cars behind it, Schiavi said. One car penetrated nearly 20 feet into the next, he said.
Most damaged was the first car, where passengers make space for bicycles. Survivors told the TeleNoticias channel that many people were injured in a jumble of metal and glass.
Passengers said windows exploded as the tops of train cars separated from their floors. The trains are usually packed with people standing between the seats, and many were thrown into each other and to the floor by the force of the hard stop.
In a previous post, I linked to the following paper, based on FRA collision tests which predicted 55 fatalities in a commuter train collision at 30 miles per hour. This seems to have been borne out by this tragedy. It would highly behoove the Federal Railroad Authority and members of Congress to, in light of this crash, reform American rail car safety standards in line with UIC standards and focusing on crash energy management to prevent the telescoping responsible for this accident. No one should have died today and no one should die in a future crash in America either.