NJT Train Lacked 'Train-Slowing' Technology

A few interesting tidbits according to the Daily Mail regarding today's deadly New Jersey Transit Train Crash: 

"The train that plowed into Hoboken station killing three and injuring more than one hundred people lacked was missing the technology created to prevent major collisions.

Positive Train Control (PTC), which combines satellite and computer data to monitor train movements and prevent them from going too fast or hitting other locomotives on the track. 

The PTC can override an engineer's actions - or lack thereof if, for any reason, they are unable to take control of the train. 

Computer algorithms calculate the distance between a red light and a train. If a train is moving too fast for an engineer to stop safely, the backup safety system intervenes and automatically applies the brakes.

'It will not allow you to violate a speed restriction, a work-zone restriction or a red signal,' Joseph Szabo, a former head of the Federal Railroad Administration, told AFP. 'It just won't let you violate it.' 

The National Transportation Safety Board has been calling for the national implementation of positive train controls for decades. The board has said that over that time it has investigated at least 145 PTC-preventable accidents in which about 300 people were killed and 6,700 injured. 

An investigation into a 2008 crash between a Metrolink passenger train and a freight train in Chatsworth, north of Los Angeles, which killed 25 people and injured 135 others, found the collision could have been avoided if PTC had been installed.

Following the tragedy, politicians passed a law requiring the nation's main rail firms to implement a safety system by the end of 2015.

But progress has been painfully slow and last year, Congress passed a bill that grants a three-year extension to railroads before they have to install the long-sought safety technology. 

The bill granted railroads until December 31, 2018, to install the expensive technology, and they can seek a waiver for up to another two years if needed."


Photo Credit:  Getty

Wendy Wild

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