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NTSB opens docket on Philadelphia Amtrak derailment

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) yesterday released hundreds of pages of reports as part of its ongoing investigation into the cause of the Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia in May 2015.

The documents contain interview transcripts, letters, factual reports, photographs and other investigative material of the incident, but no findings of blame, conclusions or recommendations. Releasing the docket at this time is part of the ongoing investigation, NTSB officials said in a news release.

The board's analysis and conclusion will be announced at a later date, they said.

Amtrak Train No. 188 derailed on May 12, 2015, after entering a curve at 106 mph, more than twice the posted speed limit. Of the 250 passengers and eight Amtrak employees on board, eight passengers were killed and more than 200 others were injured and transported to area hospitals. The train was en route from Washington, D.C., to New York City when it derailed.

The documents include interviews with the train engineer, Brandon Bostian, who said he injured his head and did not remember the crash. He later told investigators that he had remembered some additional details, including applying the brakes moments before the derailment.

Bostian tested negative for drugs and alcohol, and had not been diagnosed with a sleep disorder. There was no evidence that he had been using his cellphone at the time of the crash.

After the incident, the NTSB had said that a positive train control (PTC) system would have prevented the derailment by slowing or stopping the train if the technology had been operating on that section of track. Amtrak has since implemented PTC on its track throughout the Northeast Corridor.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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