The MTA says that the clean-up process has begun at the Metro-North Railroad crash site after Friday's rush hour derailment in Connecticut that injured 72 people.
The National Transportation Safety Board authorized the removal of rail cars from the crash site on Saturday night, allowing the investigation and clean-up process to proceed. All rail cars were removed by Sunday afternoon and taken to the Bridgeport railyard, according to the NTSB.
"Our crews will essentially be rebuilding two thousand feet of damaged track, and overhead wires and signal system," said Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut.
Crews will work around-the-clock over multiple days to rebuild, which means disruption to the New Haven line will persist in the coming week, Permut said.
Investigators are looking into a broken part of the rail that underwent repairs last month, but have not determined whether it was a pre-existing fracture or if it occurred as a result of the accident, according to NTSB spokesperson Earl Weener, who spoke at a news conference on Saturday afternoon. The board said the FBI has ruled out foul play in the investigation.
The trains were traveling at approximately 70 mph at the time of the crash, which is the posted speed limit, according to the NTSB.
Officials arrived on the scene on Saturday morning to begin investigating the cause of the train crash, injuries sustained by the commuters and operator performance.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and other officials spoke at a news conference on Saturday morning where they described a grisly scene after a Metro-North commuter train heading east from New York City derailed and was hit by an oncoming train heading west from New Haven.
"The damage is absolutely staggering," Sen. Blumenthal said. "Ribbons on the sides of cars are torn away like ribbons of clothes."
The NTSB's investigation could take seven to 10 days but that does not mean that service shutdown will take that long, board spokesman Earl Weener said..
The eastbound Metro-North train derailed just after 6:00 p.m. and was hit between the Bridgeport and Fairfield stations, officials said.
"We came to a sudden halt. We were jerked. There was smoke," Alex Cohen, a Canadian passenger on the westbound train en route to New York, told NBC Connecticut.
"People were screaming; people were really nervous. We were pretty shaken up. They had to smash a window to get us out," he said.
St. Vincent Hospital in Bridgeport, Conn. said on Saturday that it saw a total of 46 patients, six of whom were admitted for treatment. As of Saturday night, all patients remained in the hospital and were reportedly in stable condition.
Bridgeport Hospital saw 26 patients and admitted three. Two of those patients were in critical condition a day after the accident, and one was in stable condition.