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The engineer of the train was interviewed again as well because when he spoke to the police directly following the incident; he supposedly only gave limited information.
The location of the crash was on a stretch of the Northeast Corridor that did not have a system called a Positive Train Control, which can dictate speeds and slow trains around curves.
Robert Sumwalt, the National Transportation Safety Board official leading the investigation said that this system could have prevented the crash but even without the system, rail safety experts say that Amtrak locomotives have systems to alert train operators to excess the speed, which clearly did not stop the operators of this specific train.
In 1943, a train derailment occurred not far from the sharp left turn of the present day crash in which 79 people died. The fact that two fatal derailments have occurred within miles of each other signals that installing circuits to control speeds along extreme turns where they have not already been implemented is very necessary.
To take action, Amtrak spent countless hours installing speed controls on the section of track where the train derailed. ATC speed controls are in place at the curve for southbound trains but are not in place for northbound trains. Amtrak is also in the process of installing PTC, which is a more efficient and programmable system that communicates with the trains' computers through transponders in the tracks to give the train the appropriate information about speed restrictions and routes.
Congress has made it mandatory that every railroad in America adopts PTC by December of 2015. Amtrak has spent $110 million since 2008 to install it, but says that they are on schedule to meet the deadline.
Not only is the speed of the locomotive an issue, the National Transportation Safety Board and FBI were investigating reports that the train, along with two other trains in the same area, was hit by a miscellaneous object before the crash. The assistant conductor of the train told investigators that she overheard the engineer say in a radio transmission that the train had been struck by something, but when investigators interviewed Bostian, the engineer, he said he doesn’t remember anything from before the derailment. Reports from passengers aboard an Amtrak Acela train from New York to Philadelphia said that something hit and cracked a side passenger window 20 minutes before the Amtrak crash, and an object struck a SEPTA train and created a large circular crack on the windshield.
One passenger of the train filed a lawsuit against Amtrak for negligence and recklessness, saying that he suffered “catastrophic and disabling injuries,” including a traumatic brain injury, fractured ribs and shoulder, lung trauma and other internal injuries as well as cuts and bruises. Trevor Beddoe filed his complaint on Wednesday, May 20 and the suit will be battled in the next coming weeks.
Investigators found no problems involving the trains signal system, and investigators are nearly done work at the crash site, as the cars have been removed for further study with advanced laser technology. The entire investigation is believed to last an entire year due to the extreme variety of possible causes, and the injuries that resulted from the derailment could last longer than that.