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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak restores service on Northeast Corridor; Shuster to hold hearing


This morning, Amtrak resumed full Northeast Corridor operations after closing it to service in certain areas last week following the fatal train derailment in Philadelphia.

Effective with departures from Philadelphia at 5:53 a.m. (Train 110) and New York City at 5:30 a.m. (Train 111), all Amtrak Acela Express, Northeast Regional and other services resumed. Travel in that portion of the corridor had been suspended since the May 12 accident.

"Our infrastructure repairs have been made with the utmost care and emphasis on infrastructure integrity including complete compliance with Federal Railroad Administration directives," said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Boardman in a statement. "Amtrak staff and crew have been working around the clock to repair the infrastructure necessary to restore service for all the passengers who travel along the Northeast Corridor."

Eight people were killed and hundreds more injured May 12 when a New York City-bound train derailed shortly after leaving the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has not yet determined the cause, but speed was determined to be a factor. NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said positive train control's (PTC) speed-control and crash-prevention technology would have prevented the accident had PTC been deployed on the track.

Amtrak was close to the testing phase of implementing PTC on track at the Philadelphia location, Boardman said last week.

Meanwhile, U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) announced late last week that he will schedule a hearing after Memorial Day on issues related to the incident.

"Obviously, the results of this investigation will be critical to understanding all the circumstances involved in this tragic incident. It's also important for Congress to assess and understand the related safety and infrastructure policies currently in place in order to determine what next steps may be necessary," Shuster said in a press release.

Also, U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) called on Congress to pass a four-point rail-safety plan this year, including a bill that would get the rail industry to swiftly install PTC technology.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/18/2015