May 14, 2016
In 1906, Leonor Loree, an accomplished railroad executive, examined the dilapidated Kansas City Southern Railroad that he had been hired to rehabilitate. Dismayed, he permanently enriched American slang by exclaiming: "This is a helluva way to run a railroad!" Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the nation's second-most important court, recently said, with judicial decorousness, essentially the same thing about Amtrak. She was not referring to its 46 consecutive years of operating losses, which include $306 million last year and more than $16 billion since 1970, when Congress created Amtrak as a federally chartered, for-profit corporation.
May 13, 2016 |
When Deputy Fire Chief Anthony Sneidar arrived at the scene of the fatal Amtrak derailment last year, he was blocked by a swarm of police vehicles. It had been 15 minutes since Train 188 had crashed rounding the Frankford Curve in the city's Port Richmond section. Despite the live wires on the tracks, Philadelphia police officers were extricating the wounded from the wreckage. Sneidar was there to bring order to the chaos by seeing that victims were rapidly assessed and taken by ambulance to the right trauma center for their needs.
May 12, 2016 |
One year ago, at 9:21 p.m., Amtrak Train 188 derailed at Frankford Curve, killing eight and changing life for hundreds. Since then, the May 12, 2015, crash has dominated conversation in the rail industry. It highlighted the value of an automatic braking system that authorities said would have prevented the crash, and provided new urgency for efforts to improve technology, safety, and funding for the nation's railroads. "We talk about the Amtrak crash all the time," said Sarah Feinberg, the Federal Railroad Administration's administrator.
May 1, 2016 |
The tears were there, as usual, under a gray sky that wept along with those gathered Friday by the Delaware River for Workers' Memorial Day, to honor people killed on the job. But there was anger as well, and it boiled over at the annual breakfast that preceded a solemn march on Columbus Boulevard to a rainy memorial service at Penn's Landing. With a roar not unlike the sound of the train that mowed down two Amtrak workers on April 3, waves of railway workers rose to their feet Friday in rage and sadness in response to a call from their union leader.
April 27, 2016 |
WITH THE National Transportation Safety Board set to release its final report May 17 on the disastrous Amtrak crash in Philadelphia last year, the rail line has already begun to settle a handful of claims and has spent millions on health care for passengers injured in the crash. Meanwhile, litigation over the crash is starting to take shape, with lawyers for both Amtrak and hundreds of passengers cataloging injuries, lost wages, and other economic losses. The extent of losses is critical because the amount of money Amtrak can pay out in claims is limited by law to $295 million.
April 20, 2016 |
Safety permissions designed to protect maintenance workers on the rails had been granted before a fatal train crash in Chester this month, according to a federal report released Monday. According to the National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report, a backhoe was being used in a 55-hour maintenance cycle scheduled to clean the rocks on the rail bed and clear mud spots from April 1 to 4. Amtrak controls four tracks in the area just south of Highland Avenue Station in Chester and the maintenance crew was working on Track 2 on April 3. The backhoe was positioned on Track 3 so it could perform work on Track 2. Track 2 had been removed from service entirely, and Tracks 1, 3, and 4 were granted "intermittent foul time," a safety designation that should prevent trains from being routed onto tracks where workers or equipment are present, to accommodate the backhoe.
April 9, 2016 |
A federal directive issued to Amtrak on Wednesday night confirms that the rail agency's workers weren't following basic safety rules when a weekend train crash killed two people in Chester. The directive of action from the Federal Railroad Administration is the first official confirmation that safety rules weren't followed preceding the Sunday crash. Specifically, it highlighted concerns about the way personnel working on tracks follow safety standards. It stated that both federal regulations and Amtrak's internal rules were not being followed leading up to the crash, according to information provided by a senior FRA official.
April 8, 2016 |
Federal agencies have repeatedly advised railroads to use backup safety precautions for workers on the rails after accidents hauntingly similar to Sunday's fatal Amtrak crash in Chester. Sources with knowledge of the crash that killed two have said a communications lapse during a shift change contributed to workers' staying on the rails while safety precautions designed to route trains away from them were canceled. This exact scenario, according to a 2014 Federal Railroad Administration safety advisory, has been an ongoing problem in railroad work.
April 7, 2016 |
A failure to follow one or more safety rules designed to protect rail workers likely played a role in the Amtrak crash that killed two men Sunday, sources with knowledge of the crash said. The National Transportation Safety Board has said the communication between dispatchers and the work crew on the track will be one of the factors examined in the investigation. On Tuesday, several sources said a possible focus was on the failure to properly secure the permission that work crews need to safely access tracks.