The engineer who operated the Metra train involved in a fatal derailment last September told federal investigators he cannot explain the track signals he claimed gave him authority to continue traveling 60 miles per hour faster than what authorities said was allowed.

“I mean, obviously these systems are computer controlled and you can say, well, there was a computer breakdown or anything happened or you can say anything,” engineer Michael R. Smith told federal investigators during a January interview, according to transcripts released Thursday.

“But as far as proof, there is nothing I can say,” Smith said. “All I can say is that I operated my train based on the signal indications that I had at the prescribed speed on that stretch of main line.”

The National Transportation Safety Board released hundreds of pages of documents from their investigation of the Sept. 17 Metra derailment. Two passengers were killed in the crash; more than 80 people were injured.

Safety board investigators have said the train was traveling nearly 70 mph when it derailed while changing tracks, a maneuver that required it to slow to 10 mph.

They said tests after the derailment indicated the signals were working properly, warning Smith to slow down. Smith, however, told investigators the signals never indicated he was approaching a track switch.

The documents released by the NTSB Thursday are only factual in nature. They do not include analysis or a determination of a probable cause for the derailment, which will be released later when the final report on the investigation is completed, according to the NTSB.

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