Investigators Say That Pennsylvania Amtrak Accident Occurred on Closed Track
The fatal Amtrak train accident that occurred near Philadelphia PA on April 3 could possibly have been avoided if the train had steered clear of a closed track, according to a preliminary investigation by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The track was undergoing repairs, which had been scheduled to take place between April 1 and April 4.
The train crash resulted in the tragic deaths of two longtime Amtrak workers: a 61-year-old backhoe operator from Wilmington, Delaware and a 59-year-old supervisor from Lincoln University, PA. The employees were performing maintenance on a track at the Chester PA train station when the train somehow got past the track closure and hit them.
At this time, federal safety officials are still trying to determine exactly what kind of worker protections were in place when the fatal train accident occurred. According to a preliminary report issued by the NTSB, the track should have been completely closed off to trains. Additionally, there should have been at least one “flagman” present to alert the other workers to any oncoming trains headed toward the closed track.
The initial accident report notes that the two workers who were performing maintenance on the track had been granted “intermittent foul time” protection, or blockage, on nearby tracks. This meant that the backhoe they were operating at the time should have been able to move freely along the rails on the surrounding tracks.
Although the preliminary accident report has already been issued, NTSB investigators will likely take up to a year before issuing a final report and arriving at any firm conclusions about what, or who, was ultimately responsible for the Amtrak derailment. A spokesperson for the NTSB stated that the investigation remains in the very early stages.
Depending on the ultimate findings of investigators, it is possible that the families of the two victims could file wrongful death claims against Amtrak.
For additional information about this personal injury case, read the following article: Report: Track was closed morning of Amtrak crash