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Train-Safety Technology Might Have Helped Prevent Amtrak Crash

Image: Train-Safety Technology Might Have Helped Prevent Amtrak Crash
An Amtrak train derailed above Interstate 5 on Monday in DuPont, Washington. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

By    |   Monday, 18 December 2017 11:15 PM

Automated train-safety technology — stalled by high costs and technological hurdles — is designed to prevent the kind of accidents like Monday's deadly derailment in Washington state, NBC News reported.

According to NBC News, investigators are looking into the possibility the Amtrak train was going 80 mph in a section designed for 30 mph speeds.

The Positive Train Control systems — designed, among other things, to prevent trains from speeding — was mandated by Congress for all major rail lines after a head-on crash between a freight and passenger train in Los Angeles in 2008, NBC News noted.

But the system's implementation was postponed because of costs — up to $22.5 billion over 20 years — and because of the complications in coordinating technology between multiple freight and passenger carriers with mapping millions of data points, including switches and signals, the news outlet reported.

Only 456 miles of tracks had fully implemented PTC systems at the start of 2017, NBC News reported.

"Essentially, we're developing a new safety system from scratch that needs to seamlessly serve a massive transportation system," Jeff Young of the Association of American Railroads wrote on the trade group's website.

"It's like creating an entirely new air traffic control system, and it needs to be meticulously choreographed to ensure that it's going to work safely. It's not going to work perfectly right out of the box, so careful testing of the entire system is essential for making it safe."

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Automated train-safety technology designed to prevent the kind of accidents like Monday's deadly derailment in Washington state has been stalled by high costs and technological hurdles, according to NBC News.
amtrak, train, accident, congress, safety, technology
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2017-15-18
Monday, 18 December 2017 11:15 PM
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