A commuter train was going far over the speed limit just before it derailed, killing two people and injuring dozens, the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said Sunday.
Mark Rosenker said the Metra train was traveling at 69 mph, and should not have been going faster than 10 mph when it switched tracks at a crossover just before jumping the tracks Saturday.
The speed information came from a preliminary reading of one of the train's three electronic data recorders, Rosenker said.
Part of the investigation included an interview Sunday with the train's engineer, Rosenker said. The engineer, 41, had been on the job for 45 days after completing Metra's six-month training program, which included at least some training along the Joliet-to-Chicago route where the derailment occurred. He had also worked for more than five years as a CSX Corp. freight train engineer.
Investigators have determined that nothing was abnormal with the tracks, which had just been inspected on Friday, Rosenker said.
The double-decked commuter train was headed into Chicago on Saturday morning with 185 passengers and four crew members when its locomotive and five rail cars jumped the tracks about five miles south of downtown.
A similar derailment occurred on the same stretch of track in 2003, injuring about 45 people.