Published: Tue, February 06, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Cory Rios

Deadly crash: United States train was on wrong track

Deadly crash: United States train was on wrong track

Investigators said Monday that railway signals were out while crews installed a safety system that could have prevented the exact type of crash that killed Kempf and Cella early Sunday near Cayce, South Carolina.

Mr. Kempf, an Amtrak engineer from Savannah, Ga., was among two railroad employees killed as Train 91 from NY to Miami rolled through the SC countryside early Sunday morning before crashing into a prone freight train.

Signals that might have prevented a fatal train collision on Sunday weren't operating because the owners of track in SC were installing a long-delayed safety system and had shut them off. Positive train control uses Global Positioning System and other technology to stop trains from colliding, derailing or speeding.

Stephen Shelton provided an update on the patients involved in the Amtrak-CSX train crash that occurred Sunday morning. Seven seconds before the recording ended, the train's horn was activated for three seconds, Sumwalt said, adding that the train was then moving at 56 miles per hour. Lives were lost, many people were hurt.

The biggest question is why the switch was set to divert traffic off the main line - and who is responsible. "They said we're through, which would indicate that they had done everything they needed to do".

Steve Shelton, director for emergency preparedness at Palmetto Health System, where 62 passengers were hospitalized, said Monday that six patients remained there.

And on Sunday in Cayce, S.C., PTC, if operational, may have been able to warn of a switch error or malfunction that caused the Amtrak train to follow a freight train onto a siding and crash.

This crash comes just days after another deadly Amtrak accident in Virginia.

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The worst rail tragedy in recent SC history took place in 2005 when a freight engineer parked a train on a side track near a textile mill in Graniteville and forgot to flip the switch back to keep trains on the main track.

The NTSB investigation should take 12 to 18 months, Sumwalt said.

The train was shaking and jumping, and his seat broke loose, slamming him into the row in front of him, he said.

Amtrak train crashes into CSX train. image credit: Wall Street Journal " They weren't supposed to be meeting like that, clearly.

After a collision between a commuter train and a freight train in Chatsworth, Calif., that killed 25 people, Congress in 2008 passed a law requiring railroads to adopt the technology on all tracks that carry passenger trains.

In the Washington state incident, the train was going almost 80 miles per hour, more than twice the speed limit, and the engineer said he did not see signs leading up to a curve.

"It's a disgusting thing to see, to understand what force was involved", he said.

"Any time you have anything that happens like that, you expect more fatalities". Investigators say the Amtrak train left the mainline and slammed right into the parked freight train.

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