Amtrak Blames Freight Firm for Deadly Crash

NTSB says safety system would have stopped SC crash
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2018 5:41 AM CST
Updated Feb 5, 2018 6:41 AM CST
An aerial view of the site of an early morning train crash Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018 between an Amtrak train, bottom right, and a CSX freight train, top left, in Cayce, SC.   (AP Photo/Jeff Blake)
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(Newser) – The crash that killed two Amtrak crew members and injured more than 100 other people wouldn't have happened under a safety system the National Transportation Safety Board has been seeking for decades, says NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt. He said Sunday that "Positive Train Control," which slows trains down remotely when signals indicate there is a problem ahead, would have saved lives in this crash and many others, the State reports. He said the system is designed to compensate for "tragic human errors," like the one that caused the New York-Miami train to slam into CSX freight trains near Cayce, SC, after it ended up on the wrong track early Sunday.

Congress required PTC to be installed on railroad mainlines by the end of 2015, but later changed the deadline to the end of this year, the Federal Railroad Administration says. Amtrak President Richard Anderson said Sunday that the freight company was responsible for sending the Amtrak train onto the sidetrack where a CSX train was stopped. "CSX had lined and padlocked the switch off the mainline to the siding, causing the collision," he said, per Reuters. The brother of engineer Michael Kempf, one of two men killed in the crash, tells the New York Daily News that his brother, an Army veteran who had worked on the railroads for almost a decade, had been "voicing concerns about getting killed" after recent accidents and budget cuts. (Read more Amtrak stories.)

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