Amtrak crash in Philly
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NTSB has stated that the train was travelling at twice the speed limit for the curve where it derailed, but why it was doing so seems to be speculation at this stage.
I've posted another NTSB briefing to the Friends of the Rail Forum thread.
There have also been a couple of mainstream media articles describing "How America lags behind rest of developed world on train safety" and describing the system as "antiquated", which I have posted here.
One of the facts that has come out is that this stretch of track had no automatic speed control ("positive train control") on it, and the NTSB bloke was confident that it could have prevented this particular accident. Amtrak is in the process of installing it at key points on the network but legally has until the end of this year to complete it, and apparently this was one of the stretches of track where it hadn't yet been installed.
One thing no one has speculated is sabatoge or terrorist attack, which surprises me.
On the surface it looks quite similar to the Spanish derailment at Compostela a year or two back where a train derailed when it took a curve at double the permitted speed. If I recall correctly in that instance a phone conversation between driver and guard distracted the driver, he lost track of where he was ("spatial awareness") and by the time he realised and applied the brake it was too late.
In every version so far, the engineer says he needed to pull out his phone to call EMS. Unless he was on some internal phone.
Being American, wonder if he found someone that found the engine room... arousing. ;)
A little earlier than this accident another train was hit by a projectile, with a side window on a coach broken. I read about this on Facebook within 7 hours of the bad accident, but it did not make the regular press until much later.
I am not surprised that there is so much public interest in this investigation, but I am surprised at it being conducted with so many statements from NTSB at a time when really they know very little. If I recall correctly the British RAIB issues a written statement a couple of weeks after an incident, which just includes all the known facts, and then the final report comes out a year or two later. I don't think "investigation by media sound bites" is a very useful process.