Witnesses reported serious injuries, including one woman who was trapped under concrete and many people bleeding.
"We're panicking, because I believe those people in the front were very badly injured," a passenger, Jamie, told reporters at the scene. "So they started yelling, because they saw the blood."
The incident happened just before 9 a.m. Thursday, with witnesses reporting that the train appeared to crash into the station. State officials confirmed the fatality, an unidentified woman who was killed on the platform. At least two other victims are in critical condition with life threatening injuries, and the engineer is hospitalized, likely one of the critical. The majority of injuries are considered minor.
"I heard a kaboom, and the whole place shook," said William Blaine, an engineer for a freight line who had just gotten off a train. "Everybody got quiet, because the first thing you think is a bomb...I ran out, and I just saw people all over the ground and debris all over the place."
It was train number 1614 on the Pascack Valley Line, which departed from Spring Valley at 7:23 and was due to arrive in Hoboken at 8:38. It was apparently running late, and witnesses said it was moving fast when it slammed into the platform. Passengers told Eyewitness News that there was absolutely no braking as the train pulled into the station.
"I stepped over a body, and it was dead woman," Blaine said. "I backed up, and people started running over, and I just started telling people they needed to get back, because there was electrical wiring and water running, and the ceiling was about to cave in."
Officials say there is no clear indication of the cause at this point, but the possibilities investigators are looking at include human failure, catastrophic mechanical failure, a medical condition and sabotage/terror/foul play. Investigators do NOT suspect anything intentional, but they are looking at everything.
New Jersey state EMS reported more than 100 patients, and New Jersey Transit reported multiple passengers trapped, structural damage and a collapse in the station. Dozens of ambulances were at the scene, and victims were being wheeled away on stretchers.
The train came to a halt in a covered area between the station's indoor waiting area and the platform. A metal structure covering the area collapsed, and officials reported heavy damage to terminal. Structural engineers and investigators from the Federal Railroad Administration are already on the scene, and investigators from the NTSB were headed there.
PHOTOS: Train crash in Hoboken
Most of the injuries appeared to be in the first car or people struck by debris inside the station. Passengers on the second car and behind it were able to exit the train, and some reportedly broke the emergency windows to escape.
Over 50 of the injured were transported to Jersey City Medical Center.
All rail service is suspended in and out of Hoboken, as is South Hoboken ferry service. NY Waterway will be crossing honoring tickets on all routes, and all other services are running normally. New Jersey Transit bus and private carriers are also honoring NJT rail tickets and passes, and passengers were advised to use NJ Transit Light Rail.
Hoboken, which is New Jersey Transit's fifth-busiest stations with 15,000 boardings per weekday, is the final stop for several train lines and a transfer point for many commuters on their way to New York City.
NJ Transit provides more than 200 million passenger trips annually on bus, rail and light rail lines. More than 100,000 people use NJ Transit trains to commute from New Jersey into New York City daily.