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Rail News: Amtrak

NTSB, FRA launch investigations into Amtrak derailment


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will examine multiple factors that may have played a role in yesterday's Amtrak train derailment near Chester, Pa., that killed two people.

The accident occurred when the train hit a backhoe on the track. Two maintenance workers who were on the track or the backhoe — both Amtrak employees — were killed. About 35 people were injured, according to news media reports.

About 341 passengers and seven crew members were on board, according to Amtrak. The crash caused the train's lead engine to derail.

NTSB investigators will look at factors such as mechanical, operations, signal, track, human performance and survival, agency officials said yesterday at a press conference, CNN reported.

Federal Railroad Administration investigators also arrived on the accident scene yesterday.

Amtrak will operate regularly scheduled trains today, with residual delays between Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del., the railroad said.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said the derailment demonstrates the need for the nation to rebuild its "crumbling rail infrastructure" to ensure safer operations. He noted yesterday's accident comes less than a year from the crash near Philadelphia in May 2015, which resulted in eight fatalities and more than 200 people injured.

"We need answers immediately — and I am pleased the National Transportation Safety Board has already launched an investigation to find all the facts," Blumenthal said. "Whether due to basic human error or insufficient safety protocols, a massive section of the Northeast Corridor is again shut down, disrupting our economy and upending lives."