Amtrak Crash Investigators Say Train Was Going too Fast for a Curve Before it Derailed
Another horrific Amtrak crash has been linked to a train going too fast for a curve after cars fell off an overpass in Washington State, killing three people.
I was alarmed to read the Amtrak train that crashed yesterday was traveling at 80 mph in a 30-mph zone, according to National Transportation Safety Board member T. Bella Dinh-Zarr.
The high-speed crash in Washington State killed three and hurt more than 160 people.
CNN reported the train was hurtling around a curve at almost three times the speed limit before cars fell off the overpass onto rush hour traffic below.
One passenger said the traumatic experience of being on the train was like being inside an exploding bomb.
The Amtrak Cascades 501 train was on a new route. It had 86 people on board. It was on its first journey on a new route from Seattle to Portland when it derailed Monday.
The crash brought sobering reminders of the deadly Amtrak wreck in Philadelphia in 2015 that left eight dead and hundreds injured.
In Philadelphia, an Amtrak train was traveling at twice the speed limit when it derailed on a curve. Charges were brought against engineer Brandon Bostian for involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
A private criminal complaint was brought by a state prosecutor after the local district attorney declined to press charges, reported the Washington Post.
However, in September Judge Thomas Gehret dismissed the charges, saying there was insufficient evidence to support them. He said the evidence pointed to an accident rather than criminal negligence.
A criminal standard of negligence is not required for a civil lawsuit to be brought and Amtrak reached a $265 million settlement with the victims and their families.
Train Was Going too Fast for a Curve – Why was a Safety System Not in Place?
The Washington crash again raised questions over Positive Train Control, an automated system that is meant to prevent a tragedy of this nature.
A head-on crash between a passenger and freight train in Los Angeles in 2008 spurred on Congress to mandate PTC systems on all major rail lines. These changes were meant to be completed by the end of 2015.
A report on NBC noted the high price tag led PTC to stall and be delayed for years.
The price tag for the safety system climbed to $22.5 billion over due to the myriad complications in coordinating the technology between freight and passenger carriers and in mapping out data points signals and switches.
NBC reported a mere 456 miles of tracks had fully implemented Positive Train Control systems by the start of 2017.
As of the end of March 2017, just 16 percent of freight railroad track and 24 percent of passenger railroad lines were equipped with the safety system.
According to media reports, the Washington Amtrak train and the lines had Positive Train Control but the system had not been activated.
There are many alarming questions about the latest tragedy on the railroad and more people have paid with their lives or suffered terrible injuries due to the failure of Amtrak to make its services as safe as they could have been.
If you have been hurt on the railroad, see our resources on railroad passenger injuries or call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at (757) 455-0077.