On May 12, Amtrak train 188 took a curve at Frankford Junction going over 100 miles-per-hour. The posted speed limit in the area was 50 miles-per-hour. The train derailed, killing eight people and injuring countless others.
In June, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman Christopher Hart told the House Transportation Committee that Positive Train Control (PTC) “would have prevented the May 12 accident.” The tragedy sparked anger from safety advocates who have long said that PTC should be implemented on our nation’s railways.
But on Wednesday, the GAO issued a report on the status of PTC to the House Transportation Committee, which indicated that America’s railroads are way behind in implementing the technology. Most railroads in the GAO report (20 of 29) estimated that they won’t be able to implement Positive Train Control (PTC) for 1 to 5 years after the December 31, 2015 deadline.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, the ranking member of the Senate Commerce subcommittee charged with overseeing Amtrak and other railroads, said in an interview that he was not happy to see that PTC implementation will be delayed.
“We keep pushing this further and further back,” says Booker, and passengers are still being put in harm’s way as a result. “Congress should do everything possible to create the right pressure and accountability to get this done.”