Schumer calls for safety improvements after train derailment

PHILADELPHIA (NEWS10) – Safety improvements are being called for following the deadly Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia.

Currently, seven people have been confirmed dead and more are still unaccounted for. On Wednesday, Senator Chuck Schumer said he believes the crash could have been prevented.

In the last two years, there have been two deadly passenger train accidents in New York. For Sen. Schumer, the time to implement new safety precautions is now.

“The first car is a mangled mess,” he said.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson Robert Sumwalt said the on scene investigation will last a week.

“To find out not only what happened but why it happened,” he said.

Investigators, however, have already made some startling discoveries. The train was going around 106 mph in a 50 mph area before the emergency brakes were applied.

“It seems that the train didn’t slow down, and that’s what caused the derailment,” Schumer said.

At 9:21 p.m. Tuesday, the train jumped the tracks on a left hand turn. Seven people have been confirmed dead, but Schumer believes more deaths are likely.

“We’ve seen the lack of safety with the increase of deaths caused by the rails,” he said.

In February, one train in New York hit a vehicle on the tracks killing seven. Another jumped the tracks in 2012. It was going too fast shortly after the engineer fell asleep and killed four.

“Safety has to be job number one,” Schumer said.

Schumer wants a technology known as Positive Train Control installed on rail lines.

“Positive Train Control slows down trains when they are going too fast or when there is a car or another train on the track,” he explained.

Seven years ago, Congress passed a law to implement the technology, but just this year, a senate committee passed a bill to delay it for five more years.

“And probably would have prevented the crash here from everything we know,” Schumer said.

The NTSB has sent the train’s black box to headquarters to be analyzed. It also said the train had forward facing cameras that will help them understand how the train left the tracks.

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