According to Philly.com, Amtrak never installed an automatic braking system on the northbound track where eight people died and over 200 were injured when Amtrak Train 188 derailed in Philadelphia last week. Meanwhile, less than one hundred yards away, the southbound track was already outfitted with an automatic braking mechanism that would probably have prevented the catastrophe at the sharp Frankford Junction curve.
Without an automatic braking system present, Amtrak Train 188 was able to enter the turn at over 50 miles per hour above the speed limit. According to the article, Amtrak’s CEO called the absence of an automatic braking mechanism a “loophole” that the company was not aware of until after the fatal crash. The track was to be updated with a new “positive train control” system required by law to be installed on all passenger and major freight railroads by the end of the year. Federal investigators state that the new system would have prevented the accident from occurring.
Family and friends of the deceased and injured will undoubtedly wonder what could have been done to prevent this tragedy from happening. We at Lopez McHugh extend our condolences to the countless people affected by the crash, and are keeping those who lost loved ones in our thoughts.