Illustration of the collision location.

​Illustration of the collision location. (Courtesy of the Federal Transit Administration.)

New York City Transit Train-to-Train Collision

What Happened

​​This information is preliminary and subject to change. Release date: 25 January 2024

On January 4, 2024, about 3:00 p.m., northbound New York City Transit (NYCT) non-revenue train 1345 collided with northbound passenger train 1427 on the Number 1 Line north of 96th Street Station in Manhattan, New York.[1] Train 1427 was crossing over from express track 3 to local track 4 when train 1345 overran a red signal at the north end of the station platform, entered the crossover, and struck the fifth railcar of train 1427.[2] Train 1345 derailed two railcars and train 1427 derailed three railcars. About 22 passengers and 3 crew members suffered minor injuries. At the time of this report, NYCT had not estimated the cost of damages. The collision occurred in the underground subway system, so weather was not a factor.

​Passenger train 1427 comprised 10 railcars and its crew consisted of a conductor and an operator. The train was carrying about 200 passengers at the time of the collision. Train 1345 was also a 10-railcar train, and its crew consisted of a transit system supervisor, an operator (who was acting as a flagger), a conductor, and a railcar inspector.[3]

Before the collision, about 2:11 p.m., an unruly passenger aboard train 1345 triggered an emergency braking application by pulling the emergency brake valve cords on the first five railcars.[4] These emergency brake valve cords are accessible to passengers within each railcar. After the operator of train 1345 was unable to reset the emergency braking application, the operator moved the train to 79th Street Station and offloaded all passengers. A railcar inspector with NYCT arrived on scene but was also unable to reset the brakes, placing the train into bad order (out-of-service) status.[5]

The operations control center instructed the railcar inspector to cut out the brakes and traction motors on the five railcars in the front portion of the train so it could be operated. The inspector was then instructed to move the out-of-service train to a rail yard for repairs. After the railcar inspector performed the cut out, train 1345 departed 79th Street Station at restricted speed, northbound on track 4 toward 96th Street Station, destined for a nearby yard.6 The transit system supervisor was operating the controls of the sixth railcar. The flagger was positioned in the lead railcar and communicating with the transit system supervisor to coordinate the train’s movements. In interviews with National Transportation Safety Board investigators, the flagger said he lost radio communications with the transit system supervisor near 96th Street Station. The transit system supervisor did not receive the flagger’s instruction to stop, the train passed by a signal requiring a stop at the end of the 96th Street Station platform, and the collision occurred. The track in the area was equipped with trip-stops, which activate a train’s emergency brakes if the train passes through a signal requiring a stop. Because the brakes on the first five railcars had been cut out, emergency brakes could not be activated by the trip-stop.

While on scene, National Transportation Safety Board investigators requested security camera images and radio audio recordings; reviewed signal logs; reviewed​ NYCT operating procedures; conducted sight distance observations; inspected both trains and tested the brakes on the last five railcars of train 1345; tested the portable radios used by the crew of train 1345; and completed interviews. Neither train was equipped with event recorders, cameras, or other recording devices. ​​

The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation is ongoing. Future investigative activity will focus on NYCT’s operating procedures when moving bad order cars, radio communication procedures, mechanical procedures when placing a revenue train in bad order status, and the lack of federal requirements for railcar event recorders on FTA regulated properties.

Parties to the investigation include:

  • the Federal Transit Administration, 
  • the New York State Public Transportation Safety Board, 
  • the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 
  • New York City Transit, and 
  • Transport Workers Union Local 100.

​ [1] (a) All times in this report are local. (b) A non-revenue train is any train in test, maintenance, emergency, or inspection service that may not be used by the public. ​
[2] Under NYCT operating rules, a red signal at the entrance of an interlocking (in this case, a crossover) requires a train to stop.
​[3] The flagger was communicating over a handheld radio with the supervisor about signals, obstructions, and other information needed to operate the train.
[4] An emergency braking application uses all available braking efforts to stop a train as quickly as possible. Emergency brake valve cords are accessible to the public within each railcar.
[5] Bad order status removes a train from revenue service pending maintenance.
[6] Under NYCT operating rules, restricted speed requires a crew to operate a train below 10 mph and at a speed that allows them to stop with one-half the range of vision.


NTSB Media Brief - Train Collision in New York, New York Jan. 5 2024