Speed a Major Factor in Tuesday's Fatal Amtrak Derailment
"The question of the train’s speed was unequivocally answered by a lab analysis of its data recorder," write Ashley Halsey III, Julie Zauzmer and Dana Hedgpeth of The Washington Post about the finding of the the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). "Trains are equipped with cameras and sensitive data recorders — akin to the so-called black boxes on aircraft — that measure factors such as speed."
Bloomberg News reports that the death toll rose to seven and injuries exceeded 200, "with about 12 listed in serious or critical condition Wednesday."
Addressing an unanswered question in our May 13 post, NTSB board member Robert "Sumwalt said Amtrak had not installed a feature known as Positive Train Control on the section of track where the accident took place," according to The Washington Post. PTC is designed to prevent derailments caused by excessive speed as well as other factors. "The system is in place in much of the Northeast Corridor," note the reporters, and Congress has required that it "be installed throughout the U.S. rail system by the end of this year."
As for this crash being one of Amtrak's worst as reported here Wednesday, Bloomberg News reporters Sophia Pearson, Angela Greiling Keane, and Romy Varghesen write that "(i)n 1993, 47 people died and 103 were injured as rail cars careened off a bridge and into water near Mobile, Alabama."
The Washington Post's Dr. Gridlock reports on the service changes in the Northeast Corridor resulting from the crash:
*Amtrak will offer modified service between Washington and Philadelphia.
*No Amtrak service between New York and Philadelphia.
*Service will also be modified between New York and Boston and between Harrisburg and Philadelphia.
Alternatives, particularly speedy ones, will not come cheap. "(F)lying on a shuttle on either Delta or US Airways was averaging about $1,300 roundtrip," writes Dr. Gridlock.
Train riders are advised "to check (Amtrak's) blog for updates on changes to schedules and warned that conditions could change."