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April 4, 2016

Amtrak Philadelphia Train Crash, “A Colossal Mistake”

On Sunday, April 3, 2016, an Amtrak train carrying 341 passengers and traveling from New York, NY, to Savannah, Ga., collided with a backhoe on the track south of Philadelphia. Two Amtrak construction workers were killed and 37 people were injured during the crash.

A source close with the investigation told CNN on Monday, April 4 that the crash was a "colossal mistake".

Interviewed by CNN’s Ashleigh Benfield on April 4, 2016, Motley Rice transportation attorney and former Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation Mary Schiavo said, “Why wasn’t the system called positive train control in effect? Was this a kind of accident positive train control could not have averted and of course that is the system where the sensors on the tracks, the sensors in the engines and the sensors on the headquarters…are supposed to coordinate and give the engineer on the train the information of what’s on the track and if the track is clear. It’s a system that costs $500 million per year to operate and $10 billion to build, so there are a lot of questions there that we need answers on.”

She continued when asked how Amtrak’s 12-step procedure for construction work on rail lines could have been messed up, “By not following them. Just like on other transportation accidents, you have a checklist and you have steps you’re supposed to go through for a reason so disasters don’t happen and it’s clear they [the 12 steps] were not followed.”

Read Mary Schiavo’s March 2015 blog post, New train crash technology may be the difference in lives lost due to vehicle collisions.

Read more about the Amtrak crash.

Learn more about train crash lawsuits.