May 15, 2015 |
Amtrak Train 188 was traveling at more than 100 m.p.h., more than double the speed limit, when it crashed Tuesday night at Frankford Junction, killing at least seven people and injuring about 200, investigators said Wednesday. The death toll was expected to rise, as emergency crews continued to search for bodies in the mangled wreckage of the seven-car train. About a dozen passengers were still missing. The deadly derailment could have been prevented if Amtrak had installed an electronic train-control system that is already in place on other parts of its rail network, National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said.
May 15, 2015 |
When you get right down to it, it was a question of physics. At the site of the Amtrak derailment on Tuesday, the track had a fairly significant curve. Imagine a giant circle with a diameter of nearly 2,900 feet, more than a half-mile. The track's path would trace the outline of that circle. The track also had a "superelevation" of five inches, meaning the outer rail was five inches higher than the inner rail. Given those parameters, a locomotive pulling seven Amtrak-size cars could safely travel up to about 55 m.p.h., said Pennsylvania State University engineer Steve Dillen, who performed a rough calculation at The Inquirer's request.
May 15, 2015 |
Investigators of Tuesday's deadly Amtrak derailment say they are focusing on reports that the train was traveling more than twice the 50-mile-an-hour speed limit when it entered a sharp curve in Frankford. An automatic train control system designed to prevent speeding was not in place where Amtrak Train 188 crashed, killing seven people and injuring more than 200. The train's engineer, who has not been identified, declined to give a statement to police investigators and left the East Detectives Division with an attorney, police commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said Wednesday.
April 27, 2015 |
Tougher inspection and maintenance standards for railroad tracks could prevent dangerous derailments of trains carrying explosive crude oil, officials of the rail inspectors' union say. Lawmakers in Congress and rail regulators have focused much of their attention on the strength of oil tank cars and the volatility of Bakken crude oil, but track flaws and train speed can also be significant factors in accidents. "Let's see what we can do to keep the damn trains on the track," said Rick Inclima, a member of the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA)
March 17, 2015 |
More than a decade after a group of urban pioneers living in the Loft District suggested the abandoned Reading Railroad viaduct could be repurposed as an elevated park, an unusual partnership will make the idea a reality and enable construction to start this summer on the first phase of the project. The William Penn and Knight Foundations plan to formally announce Monday that they are joining forces and checkbooks to fund $11 million worth of park improvements in Philadelphia, primarily in underserved neighborhoods.
October 17, 2014 |
In a wide-ranging lecture on the Underground Railroad, which brought thousands of slaves to freedom in the 19th century, historian Charles Blockson said Wednesday that the role of Philadelphia cannot be overlooked. "Philadelphia was a major terminal on the Underground Railroad, because of its location as a seaport and so forth," Blockson told about 70 people at Temple University's Sullivan Hall. Inside the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, an archive of historical materials he has gathered over 70 of his 80 years, Blockson spoke for more than an hour about the network of safe houses and "conductors" that helped runaway slaves from the South make their way north to freedom.
September 26, 2014 |
LARRY ROBIN wants to dig deeper into Philadelphia's role in the Underground Railroad. Robin, director of Moonstone Arts Center, and formerly of Robin's Bookstore, designed the center's upcoming Hidden History Program, "The Underground Railroad in Philadelphia. " The events will run from Sept. 29-Oct. 26. The program will kick off Monday with a showing and discussion of the film "The Underground Railroad: The William Still Story," at 5:30 p.m. at Walnut Street West Library. Moonstone Arts Center is offering nine free showings of the film throughout the program.
August 23, 2014 |
It's not the Hogwarts Express, but families looking for a fun locomotive outing can skip the costs (and the crowds) of a Florida amusement-park sojourn and head instead to the historic railroads of the Philadelphia area. There aren't any witches and wizards, but between the scenery and the amicable staff, the rails have a magic of their own. In Bucks County, about 50 minutes outside Philadelphia, you can visit the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad. "The buildings, the grounds, and the railroad itself date back to 1891, so the railroad cars we have here date back to as far as 1913," said Paul Harland, New Hope & Ivyland's general manager of passenger operations.
April 24, 2014 |
Charles F. Fluehr, 82, of Cheltenham, a veteran and a former owner of his family's furniture store, died Tuesday, April 15, of leukemia at Einstein Medical Center Elkins Park. Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Fluehr and his sister, Claire, were the third generation in their family to manage 5 Floor Fluehr Furniture Store at Front and Emerald Streets since it opened in 1888. Mr. Fluehr graduated from St. Joseph's Preparatory School in 1949, then earned a degree in commerce and business from the University of Notre Dame in 1953.
March 14, 2014 |
NO ONE WAS injured and nothing was spilled in the Jan. 20 train derailment over the Schuylkill, but that didn't stop City Council members from peppering CSX executives with questions about how it happened. "We really just skipped over a catastrophe," Councilman Kenyatta Johnson told a panel of CSX representatives yesterday during a joint hearing of the committees on transportation and public utility and public safety. "Nobody stepped up to the plate and addressed this, saying, 'Hey - there's a tanker hanging off the side of the expressway.' " The councilman has been vocal about the lack of timely response from both the city and CSX after the derailment of seven cars carrying crude oil along the 25th Street Bridge in his South Philadelphia district.