The Press Democrat on speeding trains and the consequences of a delayed safety system:
The official report probably is months away, but there’s little question that excessive speed played a role in the deadly Amtrak derailment near Tacoma, Washington last week.
Investigators say the train, which was making its inaugural run on a new route between Seattle and Portland, Oregon, was traveling at close to 80 mph as it approached a curve with a 30 mph speed limit. Three people died and dozens were injured as rail cars spilled onto Interstate 5.
Does this scenario sound familiar? It should.
Two years ago, another speeding Amtrak train crashed on a sharp curve in Philadelphia, causing eight deaths and 200 injuries. Two years before that, four people were killed when a speeding commuter train derailed in the Bronx, New York.
None of these trains was using positive train control, a computerized safety system that monitors speed and can stop a train that is traveling at an unsafe speed.
This system, long advocated by the National Transportation Safety Board, was supposed