top of page

"Would You. Could you. On a Train?"

A still shot from a TV programme, possibly a shopping channel, with a news ticker over the top that says "2:16 AM EDT. Would you. Could you. On a Train?"

On September 28, 2016, at around 6:17pm EDT, an Emergency Alert System message was broadcast on WKTV, an Utica-area television station. The scrolling message text read:

Civil authorities have issued a Hazardous Materials Warning for the United States. Effective until September 29, 02:16am EDT. Would you. Could you. On a Train? Wait for further instructions.

Later that day, WKTV acknowledged the alert, informing viewers that it had been a "technical error":

...This message originated from FEMA as a test and had the National Location Code in it. Tests should not have that code, as it is automatically re-transmitted. We have contacted New York State Broadcasters Association who administers the Emergency Alert System in New York. We are working with FEMA to resolve this.

FEMA's response was to say that they had not sent the message out, and that they believed that their codes had been hacked and the EAS message had been broadcast illegally. Even so, this unusual event would likely have gone unnoticed and become nothing more than a brief clip or mention alongside similar events such as the 2013 EAS Zombie Hoax, except...

On September 29, 2016, a NJ Transit commuter train crashed at Hoboken Terminal in Hoboken, New Jersey. The crash happened during the morning rush hour, at one of the busiest transport hubs in the New York metropolitan area. One person died in the crash and 114 were injured, including the train operator. Witnesses to the crash reported that the train "never slowed down" as it entered the station. The train went over the bumper block and through the rail concourse before coming to rest at the wall just before the station's waiting area.

A picture showing the aftermath of a train crash, showing the debris in a station where the train impacted

As this crash happened so soon after the strange EAS broadcast, it didn't take long for people to connect the two incidents, leading to various theories - that it had been a terrorist attack and the EAS message a warning; or even worse, it was a "false flag" or part of a larger conspiracy involving the US government. However, as FEMA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the two incidents, the truth was eventually revealed.

Scheduled tests of the EAS had been scheduled and announced back in July 2016, and viewers across the US reported seeing similar messages - albeit without the Dr. Seuss quote - at the same time. FEMA then released a statement saying that "...a developer had been testing his software and sent several messages into the test and message aggregator populating the message field with some Dr. Seuss lines. The developer never intended for the public to see his test message and the TV station was unaware that its EAS device was monitoring a test environment."

Meanwhile, the NTSB investigation concluded that the cause of the train crash was because the train operator was suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea, which led to him suffering from fatigue on the day of the crash. The operator stated that he had no memory of the crash, and had since been diagnosed with sleep apnea despite it not being found in a NJ Transit physical exam in July 2016. The NTSB therefore also found that NJ Transit's failure to follow their own sleep apnea screening program was also a contributing factor in the crash.

In the end, the WKTV EAS message and the Hoboken train crash the following day were just coincidences - a creepy set of circumstances, certainly, but coincidences all the same. Although there are still probably some out there who believe that there has been a cover-up to prevent the truth from coming out...


WKTV Hijacking September, 28th 2016 (Emergency Alert System Wiki)


bottom of page