Amtrak CEO: Train Fail-safe Technology in Place by End of 2015
WASHINGTON, June 2 (UPI) — Amtrak’s CEO said Tuesday the fail-safe technology aimed at controlling train movement will be in place on the entire Northeast Corridor by the end of 2015.
Joseph Boardman told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee the technology, known as positive train controls, have been installed on tracks between New Haven, Connecticut and Washington, D.C., but haven’t been activated as testing continues. National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Christopher Hart said positive train controls, which can automatically stop a train before a derailment, would have prevented the May 12 crash that killed eight and injured more than 200.
Boardman told the committee the train would have likely stayed on the tracks if it was traveling below 98 mph. NTSB investigators found it was traveling at 106 mph just before it entered a curve and derailed. Boardman said trains traveling the same route but southbound operate with “automatic train controls,” an earlier version of the technology that automatically slows trains to 45 mph.
“The northbound track did not have the same protection installed because the approach speed was 80 mph, which was slow enough that a train could round the curve at that speed without derailing if the engineer failed to slow down,” Boardman said. “At the time, the notion that an engineer might accelerate into the northbound curve was not a circumstance we anticipated and thus we didn’t mitigate for it.”
The NTSB preliminary report on the crash, issued Tuesday, said investigators found no anomalies on the train braking systems, signals, and track geometry. Investigators are still reviewing the engineer’s cellphone.