NTSB set to release findings a year after Amtrak derailment

WASHINGTON — One year after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia killing eight people, many questions remain as federal investigators are set to release their findings.

The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to release the cause of the derailment when it meets next Tuesday.

An Amtrak train bound for New York City left D.C.’s Union Station on May 12, 2015 and derailed in a neighborhood in Philadelphia. Eight people died and more than 200 were injured.

Since the derailment, experts say that Amtrak has made changes to strengthen passenger safety, including the installation of technology known as positive train control that can automatically slow or stop a train.

Following a deadly 2008 commuter train crash in California, Congress mandated that positive train control be installed across the nation’s railroad system by the end of 2015. But many railroads did not meet the deadline.

“Amtrak committed to making sure that by the end of 2015 they would have positive train control fully implemented in the northeast corridor and they did that,” said former NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker, who is now a transportation safety analyst with CBS News.

In October, the deadline was extended by three years.

“They also decided they would put dash cameras facing in toward the engineer,” Rosenker said.

With the addition of the inward cameras, investigators will have a better idea of what happens inside a locomotive before an incident.

In the 2015 derailment, engineer Brandon Bostian said he did not remember what happened. The train was going around a curve at 106 miles an hour, more than twice the speed limit. Bostian did not provide any answers as to why he was traveling so fast.

The NTSB said he was not on his cellphone at the time, nor was he under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“They still could not understand why the engineer did what he did,” Rosenker said.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up