Amtrak train traveling from D.C. derails in Philadelphia
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Amtrak train traveling from D.C. derails in Philadelphia



  • AP Photo 

    The Latest on Amtrak crash: Startup CEO died in crash

    (AP) -- The family of a New York woman who was head of a Philadelphia educational software startup has confirmed that she was one of seven people killed in the derailment of an Amtrak train.

    Rachel Jacobs’ family called her death “an unthinkable tragedy” and said in a statement it “cannot imagine life without her.”

    The 39-year-old mother of two and ApprenNet CEO had been traveling home to New York.

    Jacobs previously worked at McGraw-Hill, leading the expansion of the company’s career-learning business into China, India and the Middle East. She also worked at Ascend Learning, another education technology firm.

    Her family called her “a wonderful mother, daughter, sister, wife and friend.”

    Read more on WTOP.com. 

  • Deadly passenger train accidents in US in recent years

    The derailment of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia is the latest passenger train crash involving fatalities in the United States. Other crashes that killed passengers include two involving commuter rail lines serving New York City, where Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 was bound when it crashed Tuesday night.

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    FEB. 3, 2015 — A Metro-North train slams into an SUV on the tracks at a railroad crossing about 20 miles north of New York City, killing the SUV’s driver and five people aboard the train.

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    DEC. 1, 2013 — A Metro-North train derails on a curved section of track in the Bronx, killing four people and injuring 63, and comes to rest just inches from the Harlem River.

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    SEPT. 12, 2008 — A Metrolink commuter train fails to stop at a red light near Chatsworth, California, and collides with an oncoming freight train. The crash kills 25 people and injures 135 others. Investigators say the train’s engineer had been texting while on duty.

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    JAN. 26, 2005 — A pair of crowded commuter trains smash into each other in Glendale, California, when a suicidal man drives an SUV onto the tracks. One train strikes the SUV and derails into the other. Eleven people are killed and nearly 200 injured.

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    MARCH 15, 1999 — An Amtrak train hits a truck and derails near Bourbonnais, Illinois. Eleven people are killed and about 100 injured.

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    FEB. 16, 1996 — An Amtrak train and a commuter train collide in Silver Spring, Maryland. Eleven people are killed.

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    SEPT. 22, 1993 — A barge hits a railroad bridge near Mobile, Alabama. Minutes later, an Amtrak train hits the bent tracks and plunges into the bayou, killing 47 people.


    FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 12, 2008 file photo, rescue personnel work at the scene of a train collision in the Chatsworth area of Los Angeles. The Metrolink commuter train failed to stop at a red light and collided with an oncoming freight train, killing 25 people and injuring 135 others. Investigators say the train's engineer had been texting while on duty. (AP Photo/Hector Mata) 


  • Family of missing Md. Amtrak passenger looking for
    answers

    WTOP/Kristi King 

    WASHINGTON -- A Maryland man who was aboard the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia Tuesday night has so far not been found, and his father wants to know why. 

    "My son is missing, and my grandchildren are broken hearted," Bob Gildersleeve Sr. tells NBC Washington.

    Bob Gildersleeve Jr. is a father of two, and an executive with Ecolab who lives near Baltimore.

    His father says Gildersleeve was riding in the wrecked train's first car. Family members have been unable to get information from Amtrak on his whereabouts.

    "His phone they found, but they can't find him or his belongings," he told NBC Washington.

     Gildersleeve Sr.  and other relatives have gathered in Philadelphia in hopes of getting answers.

    Read more on WTOP.com. 


    WTOP's Michelle Basch reports on family's search for missing Md. man 
    by WTOP News

  • The Latest on Amtrak crash: College dean died in crash

    (AP) -- Officials at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York, confirmed that Derrick Griffith, dean of student affairs and enrollment management, was one of seven people killed in the derailment of the Amtrak train.

    The college says the 42-year-old Griffith served Medgar Evers students and the community “with passion” and that he was “a champion for the downtrodden.”

    It says he formerly was a school principal and in 2003 he founded the City University of New York Preparatory Transitional High School. He also was executive director of Groundwork. Inc., an organization formed to support young people living in high poverty urban communities.

    Griffith joined Medgar Evers College in 2011 as assistant provost, the first of a number of roles he would fill at the college.

    A month ago, he received a doctorate of philosophy in urban education from the City University of New York Graduate Center.

    Read more on WTOP.com. 

  • AP Photo 

    Amtrak train in deadly wreck was speeding, but why?

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Federal investigators have determined that an Amtrak train that crashed in Philadelphia, killing at least seven people, was careening through the city at 106 mph before it ran off the rails along a sharp curve where the speed limit drops to just 50 mph, but they still don’t know why it was going so fast.

    Robert Sumwalt, of the National Transportation Safety Board, said a data recorder and a video camera in the train’s front end could yield clues to what happened. Amtrak inspected the stretch of track on Tuesday, just hours before the accident, and found no defects, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

    Sumwalt said the engineer applied the emergency brakes moments before the crash but slowed the train to only 102 mph by the time the locomotive’s black box stopped recording data. The speed limit just before the bend is 80 mph, he said.

    The engineer, whose name was not released, refused to give a statement to law enforcement and left a police precinct with a lawyer, police said. Sumwalt said federal accident investigators want to talk to him but will give him a day or two to recover from the shock of the accident.

    Mayor Michael Nutter said he was frustrated to learn how fast the train was going. “Part of the focus has to be, what was the engineer doing?” Nutter said. “Why are you traveling at that rate of speed?”

    More than 200 people aboard the Washington-to-New York train were injured in the wreck, which happened in a decayed industrial neighborhood not far from the Delaware River just before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Passengers crawled out the windows of the torn and toppled rail cars in the darkness and emerged dazed and bloody, many of them with broken bones and burns. At least 10 people remained hospitalized in critical condition on Wednesday.

    It was the nation’s deadliest train accident in nearly seven years. There is no Amtrak service between Washington and New York again on Thursday.

    The NTSB finding about the train’s speed corroborated an AP analysis done earlier in the day of surveillance video from a spot along the tracks. The AP concluded from the footage that the train was speeding at approximately 107 mph moments before it entered the curve.

    Despite pressure from Congress and safety regulators, Amtrak had not installed along that section of track Positive Train Control, a technology that uses GPS, wireless radio and computers to prevent trains from going over the speed limit. Most of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor is equipped with Positive Train Control.

    “Based on what we know right now, we feel that had such a system been installed in this section of track, this accident would not have occurred,” Sumwalt said.

    The notoriously tight curve is not far from the site of one of the deadliest train wrecks in U.S. history: the 1943 derailment of the Congressional Limited, bound from Washington to New York. Seventy-nine people were killed.

    The dead in Tuesday’s crash included an Associated Press employee, a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, a Wells Fargo executive, a college administrator and the CEO of an educational startup.

    Nutter said some people were unaccounted for but cautioned that some passengers listed on the Amtrak manifest might not have boarded the train, while others might not have checked in with authorities.

    “We will not cease our efforts until we go through every vehicle,” the mayor said.

    The crash took place about 10 minutes after the train pulled out of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station with 238 passengers and five crew members listed aboard. The locomotive and all seven passenger cars hurtled off the track as the train made a left turn, Sumwalt said.

    Of the engineer, Sumwalt said: “This person has gone through a very traumatic event, and we want to give him an opportunity to convalesce for a day or so before we interview him. But that is certainly a high priority for us, to interview the train crew.

    Jillian Jorgensen was seated in the second passenger car and said the train was going “fast enough for me to be worried” when it began to lurch to the right. Then the lights went out, and Jorgensen was thrown from her seat.

    She said she “flew across the train” and landed under some seats that had apparently broken loose from the floor.

    Jorgensen, a reporter for The New York Observer who lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, said she wriggled free as fellow passengers screamed. She saw one man lying still, his face covered in blood, and a woman with a broken leg.

    She climbed out an emergency exit window, and a firefighter helped her down a ladder to safety.

    “It was terrifying and awful, and as it was happening it just did not feel like the kind of thing you could walk away from, so I feel very lucky,” Jorgensen said in an email.

    Among the dead were award-winning AP video software architect Jim Gaines, a father of two; Justin Zemser, a Naval Academy midshipman from New York City; Abid Gilani, a senior vice president in Wells Fargo’s commercial real estate division in New York; Derrick Griffith, dean of student affairs and enrollment management at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York; and Rachel Jacobs, who was commuting home to New York from her new job as CEO of the Philadelphia educational software startup ApprenNet.

    “It’s incredible that so many people walked away from that scene last night,” the mayor said. “I saw people on this street behind us walking off of that train. I don’t know how that happened, but for the grace of God.

    The area where the wreck happened is known as Frankford Junction, situated in a neighborhood of warehouses, industrial buildings and homes.

    Amtrak carries 11.6 million passengers a year along its busy Northeast Corridor, which runs between Washington and Boston.

    ___

    Associated Press reporters Maryclaire Dale, Michael R. Sisak and Josh Cornfield in Philadelphia and Jack Gillum, Ted Bridis and Joan Lowy in Washington contributed to this story.


  • Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian doesn't remember the fatal crash, his attorney told ABC News (LinkedIn photo) 

    Amtrak engineer has 'no recollection' of fatal crash, attorney says

    WASHINGTON — The engineer of the Amtrak train that crashed in Philadelphia doesn’t remember the moment of impact and has “no explanation” for what happened, according to his lawyer.

    Engineer Brandon Bostian was “very distraught” to hear that at least seven people were killed in the crash, his lawyer Robert Goggin told ABC News.According to his attorney, Bostian voluntarily submitted a blood sample, has turned over his cellphone, and is cooperating with authorities.

    Goggin told ABC his client suffered a concussion and injuries to his leg that required treatment.

    “I asked him if he had any medical issues, he said he had none,” Goggin said. “He’s on no medications. … He has no health issues to speak of and just has no explanation.

    Bostian “remembers driving the train,” but not the moments before the crash on a large curved area of track, north of Philadelphia, said his lawyer.

    “He remembers going to that area generally, (but) has absolutely no recollection of the incident or anything unusual,” said Goggin. “The next thing he recalls is being thrown around, coming to, finding his bag, getting his cellphone and dialing 911.

  • NBC transportation reporter Adam Tuss says the NTSB still hasn't interviewed engineer Brandon Bostian about the fatal crash

  • Amtrak train in deadly wreck was speeding, but why?

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Federal investigators have determined that an Amtrak train that crashed in Philadelphia, killing at least seven people, was careening through the city at 106 mph before it ran off the rails along a sharp curve where the speed limit drops to just 50 mph, yet they still don’t know why it was going so fast.

    Robert Sumwalt, of the National Transportation Safety Board, said a data recorder and a video camera in the train’s front end could yield clues to what happened. Amtrak inspected the stretch of track on Tuesday, just hours before the accident, and found no defects, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

    Sumwalt said the engineer applied the emergency brakes moments before the crash but slowed the train to only 102 mph by the time the locomotive’s black box stopped recording data. The speed limit just before the bend is 80 mph, he said.

    Read more at wtop.com.

  • by WTOP
    Ray LaHood, the former United States Secretary of Transportation says Congress hasn't done enough to ensure the safety of rail passengers.


  • NTSB Sumwalt not surprised #Amtrak driver's atty sz he can't remember crash/common w trauma victims #WTOP http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CE9fosgW0AAaDyv.jpg

  • With seats booked up,trying standby at Megabus at Union Station is one of only a few options to NYC this AM http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CE9ftzUUMAAczJ7.jpg

  • Megabus website shows no DC to NY seats today, same trip on Greyhound almost entirely sold out thru this afternoon
  • Now Greyhound DC to NY showing as entirely sold out until 2pm
  • NTSB member Robert Sumwalt tells ABC's Good Morning America that it's not surprising the engineer has told his lawyer he can't remember the crash.

  • Traveler was told his chances of getting on Bolt Bus to NYC from DC on standby were 50-50
  • NTSB getting event recorder data also fr switch signals on RR tracks at #AmtrakCrash #WTOP http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CE9qicuWIAArcf0.jpg

  • ABC 7's Scott Goldberg, in Philadelphia, details what engineer Brandon Bostian has told his lawyer.

  • Former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board Mark Rosenker says despite the high rate of speed at which the train was traveling, it's too early to determine why it was going so fast.

  • Profiles of Philadelphia Amtrak train derailment victims: Jim Gaines, Justin Zemser, Abid Gilani, Rachel Jacobs, and Derrick Griffith.
  • Addl lengths of replacement RR tracks arrive at #AmtrakCrash scene in Philly. Mult arrivals today #WTOP http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CE-LWSrWMAAmlHd.jpg

  • NTSB doing 3D laser scans of remaining 2cars on #AmtrakCrash tracks 2day b4 releasing scene #WTOP http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CE-LWu5WMAAduM7.jpg

  • Doctor: Confident all Amtrak patients in hospital will go home

    WASHINGTON — The chief medical officer at Temple University Hospital says he’s confident all remaining patients in the facility who were injured in Tuesday’s Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia will recover and go home.

    Thursday morning, Dr. Herbert Cushing told reporters 16 patients remain in the hospital. Six were discharged in the past day, and one was transferred to another hospital.

    Eight patients remain in critical condition.

    Read more at WTOP.com.

  • Last time one midshipman saw Zemser, Zemser was running 4th qtrs at sea trials. Call him relentless http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CE-a-F3W0AIR5Y1.jpg

  • Lt. Josh Sherwin, Rabbi on Justin Zemser: They called him Z - I don't know many other people who can go by one letter and get away with it #Amtrak
  • Naval Acad brigade was notified by commendant after academy learned. Superintendent notes Zemser chose to come back to help sea trials
  • Sea Trials started Tues 3am, ended around 5pm Tues PM. Zemser chose to help with it. Superintendent: will forever be part of class of 2017
  • Naval Academy on decision to announce his name during Sec. of the Navy's visit Wedesday: the family had been notified and school officials wanted to inform students knowing the news would spread quickly. School officials learned of Zemser's death early Wednesday morning. 
  • Updated 6:20 a.m.

    Here's the latest in the investigation into the fatal crash of Amtrak #188:

    • NTSB says the train was traveling at 106 mph when the engineer hit the emergency brake, moments before the crash along a sharp curve where the speed limit is 50 mph.

    • The train slowed to 102 mph by the time the locomotive's black box stopped recording. The speed limit before the bend was 80 mph.

    • Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian has "no recollection" and "no explanation" of the fatal crash, his attorney tells ABC News.

    • NTSB will seek to interview engineer in near future, according to National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt.

    • Authorities had not been able to account for all passengers on the train, although haven't specified how many they are still attempting to locate.

    • The NTSB is expected to hold a briefing Thursday, but has not announced the time.

  • Philly Fire: Searchers found another passenger among the wreckage this morning. Remains were taken to the medical examiner's office #Amtrak
  • Joe Boardman - CEO of #Amtrak - pledges that positive train control will be implemented along the Northeast Corridor by the end of the year
  • Philly Mayor Nutter: Officials have accounted for all 243 people believed to have been on the train.
  • Philly Fire chief: The person pulled from the wreckage has been identified. City officials however have not released the individual's name. Family must be notified.
  • Amtrak CEO Boardman: We're very close to implementing positive train control. Had to make track changes, need testing before can be completely rolled out. Have been working to do this since the 1990s. Amtrak will be the only railroad in the US to have positive train control. It's already installed between New Haven and Boston and working.
  • Philly Mayor Nutter: Update on victims: 43 remain in the hospital
  • #Amtrak's Boardman: Reduced service will likely continue through Monday. Full service could be restored by Tuesday.
  • Philadlephia Mayor Michael Nutter says eighth victim found at Amtrak derailment. All passengers now accounted for. http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CE-0rpPWIAE2P1q.jpg

  • Safety technology might have prevented deadly Amtrak crash

    WTOPWASHINGTON (AP) — The deadly Amtrak derailment near Philadelphia appears to be yet another accident that didn’t have to happen. It could have been avoided if a long-sought safety technology had been installed on its…
  • The NTSB's final briefing of the day on the deadly Amtrak derailment coming up at 5 p.m. EDT. http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CE_lM6fWMAEsZ5v.jpg

  • NTSB's Robert Sumwalt: Train was speeding up as it approached the curve in the 65 seconds prior to the derailment #Amtrak
  • NTSB's Sumwalt: Engineer has agreed to be interviewed, should happen in next few days. Interviews of passengers has begun #Amtrak
  • The NTSB has released the derailment site back to Amtrak. Investigators need the track repaired to conduct simulation tests.
  • The Amtrak train engineer has agreed to meet with the NTSB in the next few days. http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CE_-idOVAAAW6lG.jpg

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