On Tuesday, May 12th, Amtrak Regional 188 derailed in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia.
The horrific train crash killed 8 people and injured over 200 and has
been called one of the worst train accidents in recent history. Black
box data has since revealed that the train was traveling in speeds of
over 100 mph when it entered a dangerous curve. The speed limit on that
section of track was just 50 mph. Even more puzzling is that surveillance
video indicated that the engineer actually sped up in the minutes prior
to the fatal crash.
This recent train accident has begun to stir the debate over positive train
control. Proponents of this technology believe it would have prevented
this accident from ever occurring. The technology uses a combination of
GPS, wireless radio, and computers to stop trains from colliding and derailing.
If they detect that a train is going too fast, it will slow the train
down or stop it all together.
The National Safety Transportation Board believes that if this technology
had been in use since 2004, at least 25 accidents, 1,100 injuries, and
65 deaths could've been prevented.
Congress seems to agree as well. After a deadly Los Angeles train accident
resulted in 25 deaths, Congress ordered all railroads to have this technology
installed by December 2015. Yet, the majority of railroads are far from
meeting this directive. Many believe that because of the cost involved,
it will be 2020 before all railroads achieve complete reliance on Positive
Train Control technology.
Things You Might Not Know About Amtrak
Amtrak ridership has steadily increased over the past few years, with more
than 30.9 million passengers riding the Amtrak rails in 2014. Ticket revenues
reached $2.189 billion in 2014, up 4 percent from 2013. Despite federal
funding Amtrak receives to keep the trains running, the company still
reports an average loss of $5-6 million. In fact, Amtrak has not reported
a profitable year since beginning its operations in 1971. Author of “Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service, James McCommons, estimates Amtrak is involved in a collision nearly every
day—obviously the majority of those would be considered too minor
to warrant a mention in the news. The Amtrak fleet is not young; the average
Amtrak passenger coach in service is 26 years old, with the oldest being
63. Amtrak’s last major equipment update was in the 1980’s.
Train Derailment at the Same Location Nearly Three Quarters of a Century Ago
Another deadly train derailment occurred at almost the exact spot more
than seven decades ago. A Congressional Limited train derailed with 541
passengers on board on September 6, 1943. Seventy nine passengers were
killed and 117 injured, many of them service members on leave. It was
determined a fire leading to a failed axle was responsible for the seventh
car jumping the tracks and hitting a steel pole. Six other cars behind
the seventh car subsequently derailed.
Contact Our Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers
At Golomb & Honik, our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers are devastated
by the recent tragic accident that has occurred in our community. We understand
how catastrophic these accidents can be and we are committed to serving
all injured accident victims in Philadelphia and throughout the state
of Pennsylvania. To learn more about your legal options or to schedule
a free consultation call the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Golomb
& Honik today at
1-800-355-3300 or 1-215-985-9177 or fill out our confidential
The personal injury lawyers at Golomb & Honik have successfully represented
individuals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and throughout
the United States.