On May 12, a northbound Amtrak train from Washington, D.C. derailed and
crashed in Philadelphia, PA at the Frankford Junction curve. 8 people
were killed and over 200 were injured in what was the deadliest crash
on the Northeast Corridor since 1987, and the second derailment to occur
on that section of tracks.
The curve where the accident occurred was not equipped with Position Train
Control (PTC) technology. PTC is an automated safety system that automatically
slows trains that are traveling above the speed limit. Later sections
of the track were already equipped with PTC including the southbound track
at the same junction. In 2008, after a devastating and highly fatal train
crash in California, Congress required implementation of PTC to prevent
future accidents. Congress set the end of 2015 as the deadline to install
PTC. However, railroads have failed to meet this mandate.
Recently, President Obama approved a bill with congressional support giving
railroads an additional 3 years to install automated safety technology
called positive train control (PTC) on 60,000 miles of track. One rationale
for the extension is that the technology functions are still being tested
and not yet complete.
However, the technology that functions as a safety system of the modern
train was largely available nearly 30 years ago, when it was known as
ARES. But, due to a lack of industry-wide support, it was discontinued
in the one region where ARES was implemented and shelved indefinitely
until 2008, when, after the crash in California, Congress required the
implementation of train safety technology to prevent future accidents.
The failure to implement PTC is a huge safety concern for railroad passengers
nationwide. If PTC had been installed at the Frankford Junction curve northbound, it
likely would have prevented the May 12, 2015 derailment. At the moment
of derailment, the train was travelling at 106 mph in a 50 mph zone on
a curved portion of the track. Federal investigators of the crash reported
that an automatic breaking system, used to stop speeding trains, would
have forced the train to decelerate and prevented derailment.
Amtrak management was allegedly altogether unaware that the northbound
side of Frankford Junction curve in Philadelphia lacked the speed-control
mechanism, and cited a monetary shortfall that prevented them from installing PTC.
Morelli Law Firm represents some of the most seriously injured survivors
of the 2015 derailment. If you or a loved one was injured in the recent
Amtrak disaster, you have the right to take legal action and to
recover money damages. Call
(212) 751-9800 to discuss your case with a member of our law firm, or send us a message
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