PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Most train stations throughout the United States have security systems in place meant to thwart terrorism or crime.
But depending on where you are, the rail lines themselves may not have safety systems installed or activated which are meant to help keep the cars on the rails.
“I do the reverse commute,” said David Hilbert, speaking to CBS3’s Greg Argos from the 30th Street Station.
Hilbert remembers the day Amtrak Regional Rail 188 crashed near Port Richmond in May 2015. Eight people died and more than 200 were injured. The National Transportation Safety Board says excessive speed was to blame.
“I know positive train control is something that could have prevented that,” said Hilbert.
Since the 2015 crash, Representative Bob Brady says all Amtrak lines along the Northeast Corridor have had Positive Train Control (PTC) systems put in place.
“We closed the door after the horses got out, but at least we closed the door and hopefully it won’t happen again here,” said Brady.
Amtrak has said the rails where the deadly Washington crash occurred did not have PTC activated. Deborah Herman, the former chairperson of the NTSB said it’s unclear whether it would have made a difference even if PTC was working.
“It’s really too early to tell if Positive Train Control could have prevented this derailment because we don’t know what caused the derailment,” she explained. “PTC is really a backup to the human being. The engineer and the cab could be distracted, fatigued or incapacitated. PTC is GPS based technology that knows if trains are going to collide with one another or if trains are speeding over what’s permitted in that section of track,” she continued.