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Second fatal crash in week tarnishes Amtrak repute

February 6, 2018 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

The reputation of America’s Amtrak national passenger railway system has taken another hammering, with a train crash killing two people and injuring over 100 – the second fatal crash in a week for Amtrak, its third fatal accident in 50 days and its fifth in three years.

US federal safety officials say a switch was set in the wrong position. It sent a Miami-bound Amtrak train from New York with more than 140 people aboard off the main line, hurtling onto a railway siding where it slammed into empty freight train.

The crash killed the Amtrak engineer and conductor riding in the front of the train and injured 116 other people.

“The Federal Railroad Administration Investigative team is on site to support to the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation,” the US Department of Transportation said in a statement.

“It is important to understand the factors that contributed to this tragic accident and how all stakeholders can ensure a safe and reliable rail system going forward.”

Just last week, a chartered Amtrak train carrying Republican politicians to a retreat in West Virginia collided with a garbage truck, killing the truck driver.

In December, an Amtrak train derailed near Seattle in a spectacular and dreadful crash that killed several people and left a carriage dangling over a highway bridge.

The latest news may tarnish the reputation of Amtrak, which is a pity, because US train travel is a wonderful experience. Passengers see the real America rather than flying over it; the carriages are roomy and there’s no middle seat.

But while train travel in the US is much safer per kilometre than road travel, it’s not as safe statistically as air travel. In 2017, zero people died in crashes of commercial jets on US soil, for the fourth consecutive year. 2016 was the seventh straight year in which nobody died in a crash on a US airline flying a scheduled service anywhere in the world.

Financially, Amtrak was doing well before the latest three crashes. Last November was its best revenue month ever. Amtrak achieved record revenue in November, reaching USD 204.7 million in system-wide adjusted ticket revenue, the best month in the company’s history.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. robert de graaff says:

    Ground Air Force One for all domestic flights and ask the President to use Amtrack exclyusively for 365 days and things will be fixed quickly…. So sad to this so called developed country which such a poor safety record for passenger train transporation……May they rest in peace and that their deaths are not forgotten.

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