Feds confirm Amtrak failed to follow safety rules in fatal train crash

April 7, 2016

by Jason Laughlin, Staff Writer, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 7, 2016

A federal directive issued to Amtrak Wednesday night confirms the rail agency’s workers weren’t following basic safety rules when a weekend train crash killed two people in Chester.Website Insert Development Finance and Management copy

The directive of action from the Federal Railroad Administration is the first official confirmation that safety rules weren’t followed in the Sunday crash.  Specifically, it highlighted concerns about the way personnel working on tracks follow safety standards. It stated both federal regulations and Amtrak’s internal rules were not being followed at the time of the crash, according to information provided by a senior FRA official.

Sources with knowledge of the crash near Booth Street have said a communications lapse between changing shifts contributed to the crash. Two veteran Amtrak workers in or near a backhoe directly in the path of an oncoming train were killed. Multiple federal and agency rules and regulations are designed to prevent trains from traveling on tracks occupied by workers and their vehicles.

The FRA ordered Amtrak late Wednesday night to require all railroad maintenance workers and their supervisors to review safety rules applicable to their jobs. The regulatory agency also required Amtrak to review the rules governing communication between rail workers, their foremen and dispatchers. FRA also recommended that the rail agency conduct a similar safety review for all safety sensitive workers.

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