Security and Safety

No mechanical problems found in Amtrak crash, NTSB says

Posted on June 2, 2015

Two passenger cars on their side and the remains of a damaged passenger car. Photo: NTSB
Two passenger cars on their side and the remains of a damaged passenger car. Photo: NTSB
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators found no apparent mechanical problems in last month's deadly Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia, according to a preliminary report released today.

"No anomalies" have been found so far when investigators looked at the train braking systems, signals and track geometry, according to the NTSB report.

Based on the NTSB’s preliminary review of the train’s event recorder data, the train was travelling at 106 mph before the emergency brake system engaged. The data indicated that the engineer activated the emergency brakes seconds before the derailment.

The NTSB has possession of the Amtrak engineer’s cell phone and has obtained the cell
phone records. NTSB forensic experts are examining the phone and phone records. Although the records appear to indicate that calls were made, text messages sent, and data used on the day of the accident, investigators have not yet made a determination if there was any phone activity during the time the train was being operated, the report said.

Investigators are in the process of correlating the time stamps in the engineer’s cell phone records with multiple data sources including the locomotive event recorder, the locomotive outward facing video, recorded radio communications, and surveillance video, according to the report.

The NTSB is investigating reports of vandals throwing rocks or other objects at passing
trains around the time of the derailment. Damage to locomotive windshields and to at least one passenger car has been reported. The Amtrak 188 locomotive windshield has impact damage, however, it has not been determined if the damage was from a thrown
object or as a result of the derailment. The NTSB was assisted by the FBI in evaluating
the damage to the locomotive windshield which found no evidence of damage that could have been caused by a firearm.

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