A collision between an Amtrak and a CSX train in South Carolina this morning has killed at least two people and injured 70. This latest Amtrak wreck comes less than a week after an Amtrak wreck in Virginia and again raises serious questions about railroad safety.
I was appalled to wake up to the news of another deadly Amtrak crash this morning. The wreck in Lexington County in South Carolina comes just days after a grade crossing crash between a garbage truck and an Amtrak train in Crozet in Virginia that killed a passenger on the truck.
Authorities said Amtrak Train 91 collided with a CSX freight train at about 2:35 a.m. in Cayce, S.C.
The crash has claimed the lives of at least two people. The Amtrak passenger train was heading to Miami. The lead engine and some passenger cars derailed.
As well as the deaths, at least 70 people were injured and transported to local hospitals, Lexington County spokesman Harrison Cahill said in a CNN report.
Cahill said these injuries ranged from scratches to broken bones. CNN reported the train had 139 passengers and eight crew members on board. All of the passengers were evacuated from the train early Sunday.
About 5,000 gallons of fuel were spilled in the crash. However, no fire was reported at the chaotic wreck scene.
It’s not clear yet if those who lost their lives were passengers or crew members and which train they were on.
However, this collision between an Amtrak and a CSX train raises more fears about the state of America’s railroad network.
I made this video more than two years ago after the deadly 2015 Amtrak crash in Philadelphia that claimed eight lives, injured more than 200 and resulted in a $265 million payout from Amtrak.
I noted how Positive Train Control (PCT), an automated system, was meant to make our railroads safer. The system should have been installed years ago, but the railroad operators dragged their heels.
The Federal Railroad Administration noted:
“In 2008, Congress required Class I railroad main lines handling poisonous-inhalation-hazard materials and any railroad main lines with regularly scheduled intercity and commuter rail passenger service to fully implement Positive Train Control (PTC) by December 31, 2015.”
Positive Train Control is a complicated and costly system. FRA notes it uses a communication and processor-based train control technology to create a system “capable of reliably and functionally preventing train-to-train collisions.” PTC regulates speeds preventing high speed derailments, incursions into work zone limits, and prevents trains entering the wrong lines.
After numerous delays, Amtrak is fitting PTC. However, in December, an Amtrak train derailed near DuPont in Washington State and flew off an overpass onto Interstate 5, killing three and injuring dozens.
The Amtrak engineer on the Washington train told investigators he mistook a signal and braked before the deadly crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The train was going too fast. Reports stated the Washington train had PTC but the safety system was not activated.
In the wake of last week’s crash in Virginia, the investigation is centering on the actions of the garbage truck driver. There are also questions about whether the crossing arms were working.
The South Carolina Collision Between An Amtrak and a CSX Train – Who Is to Blame? It’s too early to yet know what caused this latest devastating passenger train crash. Clearly, either CSX or Amtrak or both operators were to blame. My thoughts are with the families of those who died and the injured. America’s railroads must take a long and hard look at their appalling safety record that’s causing untold death and misery.
At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we regularly sue and make claims against Amtrak. We represent clients from the recent Washington State crash and I represented several people in the Norfolk Southern disaster in Graniteville SC. a few years ago. If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a railroad crash, please call our railroad accident injury lawyers at (757) 455-0077.