Amtrak line lacked Positive Train Control safety system, official says


Amtrak train derailment: A short history

Since 2014, there are 26 Amtrak train derailments. Here is a look back at the timeline and the details behind the incidents.

An Amtrak train derailed Monday in Washington state – the killing of at least three people and injuring more than 100, was not with the help of a Congress with a mandate from the security of the technology that could have prevented the disaster.

Amtrak President Richard Anderson confirmed that the technology, called Positive Train Control (PTC), was not in use on the piece of track in the state of Washington where a fatal derailment has occurred.

The system is designed to automatically stop a train before an accident occurs. It makes use of GPS tracking to monitor train locations, and activates the brakes if a train exceeds the speed limit, and make sure that there is no collision with another train.

Researchers will now look into the safety of the system to determine whether it could have made a difference on Monday.

Ministry of transport spokeswoman Barbara LaBoe said the bend where the train was crossing a speed limit of 30 km / h, the Seattle Times reported. “Engineers are trained to the slow trains according to posted speeds,” LaBoe said.

In 2008, the Congress adopted a term for the Amtrak and other rail companies and agencies to install PTC by the end of 2015. But because of the price tag – reportedly more than $22 billion over 20 years – the implementation of the system is delayed.

But urgent calls to install the system returned after 2015, the Amtrak derailment near Philadelphia that killed eight people and wounded more than 200.

An investigation found that the train engineer was distracted and the Amtrak train was 102 km / h in a 50 km / h zone. He also said that the PTC system would have prevented the disaster.

A new deadline for the roll-out of the safety of the system was set up in 2018 or later for some railway segments.

But the implementation is still lagging behind. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, as of the end of the year 2016, the technology is activated on only 16 percent of the tracks for the freight railroads, and only 24 percent of the tracks for the passenger railways. This despite the fact that 41 per cent of the passenger of the railway locomotives are equipped with the system.

“We continue to closely follow the railway progress of the implementation of Positive Train Control,” said Patrick Warren, FRA executive director. “With less than two years remaining to complete the process of implementation, it is necessary that the railways continue to meet the performance milestones.”

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

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