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Rail News: Amtrak

NTSB reveals cause of deadly Amtrak derailment

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is meeting this morning to report on its findings and the probable cause of the May 2015 fatal Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia.

On May 12, 2015, northbound Amtrak train No. 188 derailed on the Northeast Corridor route after entering a curve at 106 mph where the speed limit is 50 mph. The locomotive and all seven passenger cars derailed. Eight passengers were killed and more than 200 others were injured.

The board is likely to announce that the train's engineer was distracted in the moments leading up to the crash, various news organizations reported yesterday.

The engineer was distracted by radio traffic shortly before the train entered the curve, the NTSB reported. The NTSB previously made public an interview with the engineer in which he recalled hearing a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority train report that it had been hit in the windshield with a rock in North Philadelphia.

At the time of the accident, positive train control (PTC) was not operating on the section of track where the accident occurred. Had PTC been activated, the accident would not have occurred, NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart said at the start of this morning's hearing.

The NTSB's meeting can be watched live via this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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