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NEWS
May 19, 2016
Brandon Bostian was by all accounts the sort of conscientious engineer any passenger would want in the locomotive, his professionalism and lifelong love of trains evident in earnest online posts about rail safety. And yet radio chatter about a SEPTA train struck by a rock north of Philadelphia's 30th Street Station - a common hazard on the Northeast Corridor - was probably enough to distract the Amtrak engineer from the quick series of speed changes required ahead of one of the corridor's sharpest curves, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded in a report released Tuesday.
NEWS
May 19, 2016 | By Jason Laughlin and Jonathan Tamari, STAFF WRITERS
WASHINGTON - The engineer who derailed an Amtrak train lost his bearings shortly before he accelerated into a dangerous Philadelphia curve last year, likely because he was distracted by radio talk about a SEPTA train struck by rocks, federal investigators concluded Tuesday. Their report offered the most clear explanation yet for the May 12, 2015 crash of a New York-bound train that killed eight and injured about 200 people. "The engineer's world is one of fallible human decisions and actions in an imperfect environment," said Christopher Hart, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
May 13, 2016 | By Sam Wood, Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
May 12, 2016 | By Jason Laughlin, STAFF WRITER
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.
NEWS
May 1, 2016 | By Jane M. Von Bergen, Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
April 27, 2016 | By Chris Mondics, Staff Writer
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.
BUSINESS
April 20, 2016 | By Jason Laughlin, Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
April 9, 2016 | By Jason Laughlin, Staff Writer
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.
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