Fatal Amtrak crashes spotlight 10-year wait for safety upgrades

In the newest episode, work to put in the brand new system, referred to as Constructive Practice Management, may itself have contributed to the crash outdoors Columbia, South Carolina, on Sunday, Feb. four, federal officers stated. Staff had briefly lowered the security protections on the set of tracks the place an Amtrak practice en route from New York to Miami rammed right into a parked CSX Corp. freight practice.

Two Amtrak staff died and greater than one hundred individuals have been harm.

The collision wouldn’t have occurred if a PTC system had been functioning there, stated Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the U.S. Nationwide Transportation Security Board. The NTSB stated the identical factor after an Amtrak practice derailed Dec. 18 close to DuPont, Washington, when an engineer did not decelerate for a curve, killing three individuals. PTC would have sensed the place the practice was and mechanically slowed earlier than it reached the curve.

“Individuals are dying,” Rep. Sean Maloney, D-N.Y., stated in a press release. “We will not wait any longer on getting PTC methods up and operating nationwide. Congress has delayed this deadline again and again and we have seen the lethal outcomes.”

Regardless of the NTSB’s many years-lengthy suggestions for PTC, and Congress in 2008 mandating it by 2015 on important sections of monitor, many railroads are nonetheless years away from completion. In late 2015, when it turned clear that railroads would not meet the deadline, lawmakers prolonged it till this yr. If railroads set up PTC gear throughout their techniques and get it operational on at the very least half of their strains, they will take one other two years to finish the duty.

The opposite deadly Amtrak crash occurred final Wednesday in Virginia when a practice carrying Republican lawmakers struck a trash truck driving by way of a grade crossing. An occupant of the truck died. The PTC methods mandated by Congress cannot detect automobiles at a grade crossing, so it would not have prevented that accident. Nevertheless, some comparable methods do monitor grade crossings, like alongside a piece of Amtrak rail in Michigan.

PTC was additionally raised as a problem Tuesday at an NTSB assembly to conclude investigations into two New York-space transit system accidents. Inside thirteen weeks in late 2016 and final yr, trains operated by New Jersey Transit and Lengthy Island Rail Street slammed into posts on the finish of rail strains after engineers did not cease. The crashes killed one and injured greater than 200.

Due to PTC’s limitations, neither transit system might use the security system inside the stations, so it might have been unable to…

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