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NEWS
May 18, 2015 | BECKY BATCHA
FOLLOWING A house fire, a hurricane, a catastrophic train wreck, volunteers and staff from the Red Cross materialize - seemingly out of thin air - to help victims back on their feet. "We address all those human needs that restore your dignity to you," says judge Renee Cardwell Hughes, CEO at the American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania. Within hours after Tuesday night's Amtrak derailment, her people had manned two help centers for passengers and their worried families, one at 30th Street Station and another at Webster Elementary on Frankford Avenue.
NEWS
May 18, 2015 | By Jason Laughlin, Paul Nussbaum, and Dylan Purcell, Inquirer Staff Writers
The Federal Railroad Administration ordered Amtrak on Saturday to immediately install an electronic braking system at the Frankford curve that - if it had been in place last week - likely would have prevented the train derailment that killed eight people and injured more than 200. Amtrak officials said the system would be in place by the time the damaged line is reopened, perhaps as early as Tuesday, and "most certainly will be safer. " Service between Philadelphia and New York remains suspended through Monday, affecting thousands of commuters.
NEWS
May 16, 2015 | By Maria Panaritis, Inquirer Staff Writer
An Amtrak employee injured during Tuesday's deadly derailment of Train 188 in Philadelphia has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the rail service of negligence, the first of potentially many legal actions to follow the disaster. The complaint filed Thursday in Philadelphia accuses Amtrak of "failing to properly and safely operate the train, operating the train at an excessive speed," and other alleged failures. It also targets Amtrak for "failing to provide available, necessary and appropriate systems to slow and/or stop the train," an oblique reference to the absence of a "positive train control" system that federal safety investigators have said could have prevented the crash.
NEWS
May 16, 2015 | By Linda Loyd, Inquirer Staff Writer
Jamer Hunt typically commutes from Center City to a teaching job at the Parsons School for Design in New York City four days a week on a 7:28 or 8:30 a.m. Amtrak train. After Hunt, 50, learned Tuesday night about the derailment of Amtrak Train 188 at Frankford Junction, he tried to take a bus Wednesday morning, but tickets were sold out. On Wednesday, he worked from home via Skype on his computer to videoconference with a fellow teacher and class of 20 students. "I was up on the big screen, and talking with the students," said the director of the graduate design program at Parsons as he waited in line for an 8:15 a.m. Megabus on Thursday in University City.
NEWS
May 16, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Joseph Boardman, chief executive of Amtrak, defended Amtrak's safety record Thursday, even as he lamented that Tuesday's deadly derailment may "have destroyed the confidence of people" who ride the railroad. He also said Amtrak has been underfunded for decades and must have more money to rebuild the century-old underpinnings of the Northeast Corridor, the nation's busiest rail route. He said Amtrak officials have not interviewed the engineer of Train 188, who apparently was operating the train at twice the 50-mile-per-hour speed limit entering a sharp curve in Port Richmond.
NEWS
May 16, 2015 | By Michael Vitez, Inquirer Staff Writer
The ER was already busy, close to full - gunshots, car wrecks, strokes - when the "get ready" call came in at 9:45 p.m. By 10:30, they began arriving by police car, ambulance, anything. By midnight, 54 had made it to Temple University Hospital, which treated more passengers from Amtrak's Tuesday night disaster than any other emergency room. The most critical patients were rushed into one of the three trauma bays just inside the ER door. Teams of doctors and nurses were assigned to each bay, responsible for stabilizing patients and moving them through with skill and speed, making room for the next.
NEWS
May 16, 2015 | By Chris Mondics and Maria Panaritis, Inquirer Staff Writers
Amtrak likely faces hundreds of millions of dollars in claims from victims of the derailment at Frankford Junction, according to personal-injury lawyers who specialize in transportation accidents. Because Congress capped such payouts for Amtrak in 1997, money to compensate victims probably will fall short of what is needed, these lawyers say. Under the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act, damages paid by the government to people injured in Amtrak derailments and to families of those passengers killed was limited to $200 million per crash.
NEWS
May 16, 2015 | By Joseph A. Gambardello and Anthony R. Wood, Inquirer Staff Writers
Right before its fatal derailment on Tuesday night, Amtrak Train 188 accelerated significantly as it approached the Frankford Junction curve, the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday. In barely a minute, its speed jumped from 70 m.p.h. to 102 m.p.h. three seconds before the crash, said NTSB member Robert Sumwalt at a news briefing. The speed limit in that area is 50 m.p.h. Sumwalt said it was unclear whether the engineer, identified as Brandon Bostian, 32, of Forest Hills, N.Y., had accelerated manually, but it was known that he did attempt to deploy the emergency brake.
NEWS
May 15, 2015 | BY DAVID GAMBACORTA, Daily News Staff Writer gambacd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5994
THE EARLY EVIDENCE suggests that speed, not decrepit infrastructure, was to blame for the horrific Amtrak train crash that killed seven people and injured hundreds more in Frankford on Tuesday. But the deadly incident naturally gave new life to longstanding concerns about the sorry state of America's aging, outdated rail system. The timing couldn't be worse. The Republican-led House Appropriations Committee voted yesterday to advance a bill that would cut Amtrak's funding by $260 million, to $1.14 billion, the Washington Post reported.
NEWS
May 15, 2015 | By Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer
There was a body in the grass. More under the cars. The injured were scattered on the ground. The battered passenger cars of Amtrak Train 188 had jumped the tracks just minutes before, and lay at odd angles in a scene emergency responders described as beyond anything they had seen before - or want to see again. "Carnage," one said. "Steel. " The first responders had pushed through the fence at Frankford Junction on Tuesday evening, and found the New York City-bound train at the foot of the hill.
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