As news that Amtrak spent the weekend installing new speed controls on the section of track where one of its passenger trains derailed near Philadelphia, questions began to emerge about why, exactly, the safety equipment wasn’t installed in the first place?
Such systems have been around for years and installed many other places on the busy commuter trains. Known as Automatic Train Control (ATC), these systems work to slow speeding trains regardless of driver input using wireless technology. The federal railroad administration has now mandated these to be installed near the site of the crash.
As investigators pondered this question, other examiners were looking into reports that the New York-bound train was hit by an unknown object shortly before the fatal crash. This object-strike was the third such impact reported that day, on the third separate train.
The railroad administration also has forced Amtrak to assess the risk of all curves on the corridor where the approach speed is significantly higher than curve speed, the condition under which more crashes are likely to occur. The administration is looking to have more signs posted in such conditions and also reduce approach speeds to reduce the likelihood of a crash.
The acting administrator of the FRA, Sarah Feinberg, said Amtrak is looking to resume Northeast Corridor service at full capacity on Monday or Tuesday, so long as the mandated measures can be fully implemented by that time.