Trains are usually a safe way to travel. I often use Amtrak to travel from Boston to New York and back. However, in recent years we have seen several derailments and incidents that are forcing Americans to rethink. An Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia killing eight passenger and injuring over 200. The train was apparently traveling on a curve at 106 MPH. This route only allows traveling at 50 MPH. The derailment occurred at around 9:30 PM.
Survivors of Amtrak 188 had to escape from mangled train cars, many of them with severe injuries. As the train derailed, they were flung around like dolls crashing into each other, luggage compartments and the walls of the train’s cabin. The experience was terrifying. Some survivors described the train as speeding up while others did not notice any difference. In response to the incident, Amtrak vows to install positive train control which allows workers who monitor the rails to take control of any train that does not break in time or is going faster than it should. The engineer was identified as Brandon Bostian of Queens, N.Y. Based on his work records, he seemed to be fond on safety. According to the “black box” recorder of the train, Bostian applied the full emergency brake application. Three seconds later, no data was recorded and then data appeared showing that the train’s speed was 102 MPH. Bostian spoke briefly to police at the scene but then remained silent. He is claiming to have no recollection of the incident. Some speculate that his lawyers from the union may have told him to tell this to officials in order to give them time to prepare any defense.
Ironically, in 1943 a train derailed in the same area killing 79 people. However, the train tracks where the Amtrak derailment occurred was recently inspected and showed no signs of any problem. Among the dead are, Justin Zemser, 20, a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy; Jim Gaines, 48, a video software architect from Plainsboro, N.J., who worked for The Associated Press; Rachel Jacobs, the chief executive of ApprenNet, an education technology company in Philadelphia; Abid Gilani, a senior vice president of Wells Fargo; Derrick Griffith, a dean at CUNY Medgar Evers College; Bob Gildersleeve, a businessman; Laura Finamore, 47, a managing director at Cushman & Wakefield; and Giuseppe Piras, 41, a wine and oil merchant from Italy.
May these victims rest in peace. Let us pray for all those effected by this horrific incident.