Febrero 21, 2018

Safety system install had signals out during deadly South Carolina train crash

06 Febrero 2018, 06:10 | Martinez Canez

Palmetto Health updates patients' status from Amtrak train accident

Emergency responders are at the scene after an Amtrak passenger train collided with a freight train and derailed in Cayce South Carolina

Kempf and one other Amtrak employee were killed and more than 100 passengers were injured when their train slammed into a parked CSX freight train early Sunday morning near Columbia, S.C. It's unknown how many other Georgians were among the injured.

It was the third deadly wreck involving Amtrak in less than two months.

But accidents for all these reasons have been reported during the past year. Yet White House budget cuts targeting Amtrak amplify a passenger-rail paradox: an industry that runs on kinetic energy is challenged by political and bureaucratic inertia.

"I lost my father when I was eight years old and I kind of still get emotional about it but I still know how it feels", sixth-grader LaMarria said. But it may be starting to happen, he says. Sumwalt declined to draw any conclusions about whether Amtrak's recent incidents pose a "systemic issue".

The biggest question is why the switch was set to divert traffic off the main line - and who is responsible.

Clearly, a comprehensive look at rail safety is needed.

Sumwalt told reporters he had not been briefed about what the CSX workers said. He spent about nine years there before taking a job at Amtrak.

"A lot has been done today and a lot needs to be done", Sumwalt said.

Yes, Amtrak is subsidized, but so are other forms of transportation systems from roads to airports, Mr. Quimby notes.

A freight train passing through went barreling down the side track and slammed into the parked train, killing nine people, majority millworkers choked by chorine gas that leaked from a damaged tanker vehicle. Whether that's passengers or freight, "that's a highly efficient system".

With the recent string of crashes, "it's becoming nearly like an epidemic for Amtrak", said Najmedin Meshkati, a University of Southern California engineering professor who has studied positive train control.

Employees had temporarily lowered the safety protections on the set of tracks where an Amtrak train en route from NY to Miami rammed into a parked CSX Corp. freight train.

PTC is a GPS-like system that connects the trains to the tracks they are traveling on. "A technology problem or something like that, something with the tracks".

That means that all of the hardware and software must be installed and at least 50 percent of the route miles must be operable, according to the Association of American Railroads, a trade group.

Safety upgrades may have actually contributed to Sunday's deadly Amtrak crash, investigators revealed Monday.

Confounding safety investigations like the one in Tacoma are complicated maintenance agreements between different entities that make it hard to pin blame. The lead engine and a few passenger cars derailed.

However the Federal Railroad Administration disagrees, when it comes to seat belts on trains. But when it became clear that few if any railroads would meet the deadline, Congress extended it another three years to December 31, 2018, with the option to grant railroads that show progress an additional two years to December 31, 2020. The federal government would have to pass a law requiring the system. Surely some way of avoiding frequent rail accidents can be found. Most of the injuries were cuts, bruises, and whiplash, according to authorities.

"People aren't focused on it until we have tragedies", Schiavo said. "That was done intentionally". We try to follow their footsteps.

"I will say, that an engineer, part of his duties, is as they're going down the track, is to look at the switch points, to see which way this is lined", Sumwalt said.

"We work very closely with (Amtrak) to maintain safety at crosses that they use", Missouri Operation Lifesaver executive director Tim Hull said. Is lack of funding for national infrastructure killing people?

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