Shocking Animation Shows Amtrak Train 501 Speeding Around Bend
A day after Amtrak Train 501 derailed yesterday during its first trip on a new high-speed rail line, authorities are releasing more information about what Amtrak and the NTSB can do to prevent future accidents.
Last night, authorities revealed that – contrary to initial reports that an object on the tracks might’ve caused the accident – Train 501 had been traveling 80 mph around a bend where the recommended speed was 30 mph. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating whether the engineer was distracted by another employee.
The excess speed is shown in this animated simulation released by ABC…
— KATU News (@KATUNews) December 19, 2017
And, in another eerie clip, an NBC reporter covering the launch of the new high-speed train line has published footage recorded inside the train on the day of the accident. The reporter and his cameraman were spared when they got off at a stop just 10 minutes before the train tumbled onto Interstate I-5.
NEW: I shot this video on board the #Amtrak501 in the 6 o clock hour this morning. We got off after shooting the video. This specific car on the train derailed minutes after we shot this video. pic.twitter.com/3g25PvMAMe
— Alex Rozier (@AlexRozierK5) December 18, 2017
The reporter later tweeted that he interviewed the same passenger both on the train and later in the hospital, where he was being treated for a broken back.
Just last month, the NTSB reported that Amtrak had a “weak safety culture,” according to the New York Times. That conclusion stemmed from the fatal accident outside Philadelphia in 2016 that killed eight people and seriously injured dozens more.
During a Tuesday news conference held by the NTSB, a member of the board said that a newer safety system was not in place during the deadly train crash near Seattle because of a Congressional extension.
Bella Dinh-Zarr spoke during a Tuesday news conference about the Monday derailment that killed at least three people, saying that Positive Train Control technology, which was mandated by a 2008 law and is supposed to prevent train-to-train collisions as well as slow and stop trains, was not yet installed on the train line.
There were plans to install the PTC system for the train, which had another safety system in place, but Congress extended a 2015 deadline to be met by the end of 2018, she said.
Sound Transit said Tuesday that the company was on track to have the system installed ahead of a December 2018 federal deadline, according to the local NBC affiliate.
To be sure, it clearly wasn’t installed quickly enough. What’s worse, the circumstances of the crash mirror those of the 2016 crash. In that instance, the train was traveling at 100 mph when it entered a bend in the track, and quickly derailed.