From The New Haven Register
By Eric Anderson Updated 11:28 am EST, Friday, November 23, 2018

STUYVESANT, New York – It was a close call for hundreds of holiday travelers aboard an Amtrak train on Thanksgiving Eve when two of the passenger cars separated from the rest of the train.

The cars had just been attached at the Albany-Rensselaer station to provide more seating for the packed Adirondack, which had originated in Montreal and was heading south to Penn Station in New York City.

A quick-thinking Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute student, freshman Reuben Clarke, of West Haven, Conn., was credited with pulling the emergency brake at the front of the car.

“The car from the back of the train was like leaving us, and I saw sparks and stuff like that and a huge gust of wind,” Clarke, an offensive lineman on the RPI football team and 2018 graduate of Notre Dame High School in West Haven, told CBS 6 News in Albany. “So I just calmed myself down, and I was like, we have to stop the train and make sure everyone was fine.”

The train was carrying 287 passengers and crew when the incident occurred. No injuries were reported, the cars didn’t derail, and passengers were transferred to a new train to continue their trip, state police said. The Adirondack had just left the Albany-Rensselaer station when the cars decoupled about 7:22 p.m.

Trains on that section of track can travel up to 110 mph. It’s not clear how fast this train was traveling when the cars separated.

Clarke “saved our lives tonight,” Helen Mark Crane told CNN. “Our car broke off from the rest of the train and was picking up speed. There was no Amtrak personnel in our car. Reuben calmly went into action and pulled the emergency brake at the front of the car. Thankful he was on the train with my son and I.”

Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said the railroad is investigating the cause of the separation.

One transportation source said the cars, which he believed were added at the Rensselaer station, should have stopped automatically when they separated. But if they had been improperly connected, the automatic braking might not have worked.

The incident occurred on one of the busiest travel days for Amtrak. The Adirondack was delayed about 3 hours and 15 minutes, Amtrak tweeted, and the northbound Empire Service Train 245’s departure also was delayed because of the late arrival of the crew from the Adirondack.

Read the original article at