Amtrak needs to improve safety

NE Ohio safety expert: Amtrak needs to improve safety

Mr. Kempf, an Amtrak engineer from Savannah, Ga., was among two railroad employees killed as Train 91 from NY to Miami rolled through the SC countryside early Sunday morning before crashing into a prone freight train. Sunday, after a manually-operated rail switch diverted the train from the main tracks onto a "siding" where the CSX train was parked, Sumwalt said.

The installation of Positive Train Control - a GPS-based emergency-stop feature - left out of commission a signal at the SC switch yard where the commuter train hopped onto the wrong track and slammed into a CSX train, killing two Amtrak workers aboard.

The upgrades are for a system called positive train control, which some say could have prevented the crash. Two people died and more than a hundred were injured in the accident in SC.

At seven seconds before impact, Sumwalt says the horn of the Amtrak sounded for three seconds. More than 100 people were also injured. RT America's Ed Schultz speaks with Jamie Finch, former NTSB director of government, public and family affairs. "That switch should have been lined so that Amtrak could have continued southbound as planned".

"We're not saying (that one of the CSX employees made a mistake)", Sumwalt said. Two of the remaining patients were in critical condition Monday. Federal investigators interviewed CSX train crew members on Monday, while Amtrak personnel would be interviewed Tuesday, he said.

WYFF News 4 investigates found a safety system that could prevent train crashes should have been in place nationwide more than two years ago.

"FRA and others have studied using seatbelts on passenger trains for many years".

The NTSB investigation should take 12 to 18 months, Sumwalt said.

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"We now own 8 locomotives and 5 cab control units and we're well on our way to equipping all of that state owned equipment with positive train control", said Allen Paul with NCDOT.

Sumwalt said equipment from the wrecked trains has been moved to an area near the crash site and is being examined.

"I understand positive train control may be a hard thing to fathom and hard thing to apply", Hiatt said.

"I was supposed to be on that train that derailed", said Linder King, who was sitting in the Birmingham Amtrak station Monday waiting on a friend to pick her up.

"Any time you have anything that happens like that, you expect more fatalities".

Of the four incidents, there were two cases where investigators say it appears people drove vehicles around safety arms at crossings. "Another train", Kempf said.

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 auto. It was going almost 80 miles per hour (128 kph), more than twice the speed limit.

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