Photo

The Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey where a New Jersey Transit train crashed into a wall last week, killing a woman and injuring more than 100 people. Credit Dave Sanders for The New York Times

The Federal Railroad Administration began investigating safety problems at New Jersey Transit before a fatal train crash on the railroad last week, a federal rail official said on Saturday.

Federal officials began an audit in June of New Jersey Transit, the nation’s third busiest commuter railroad, after noticing an increase in safety violations and a leadership vacuum at the top of the agency, said the official, who was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to discuss it publicly. After completing the audit in June, the federal agency issued a series of violations to the railroad, the official said.

During the busy morning commute last Thursday, a crowded New Jersey Transit train slammed into a wall at the Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey, killing a woman and injuring more than 100 other people. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

As part of the audit, dozens of inspectors visited New Jersey Transit’s railroad operations in June. A spokeswoman for New Jersey Transit did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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