After a deadly derailment, Amtrak is forced to make safety changes

Amtrak crashAP Photo/Julio CortezNew rail lines are stacked up in an area near the site where a deadly train derailment occurred earlier in the week, Friday, May 15, 2015, in Philadelphia. Amtrak is working to restore Northeast Corridor rail service between New York City and Philadelphia.

Following a massive derailment that reduced an Amtrak train to a pile of warped metal Tuesday night, the rail line is being forced to make some major safety improvements.

Amtrak 188 was apparently travelling too fast while rounding a curve Tuesday night on its way from Washington D.C. to New York City.

The Federal Railroad Administration has now ordered Amtrak to broaden its use of an existing signal technology designed to prevent such an incident.

The Wall Street Journal reports Amtrak will “change an existing automatic braking system to guard against speeding trains at the curving section of track” that is now the site of the Amtrak 188 crash that killed at least 8 people and injured many others.

The Journal says Amtrak has been using the so-called track circuits for quite some time. The circuits generate an alarm “in the cabin of a train that exceeds speed limits,” which then cuts power if the train doesn’t slow down.

Sarah Feinberg, the Federal Railroad Administration’s acting administrator, said on CNN Friday night she’ll ask that those circuits be installed at the site of the derailment before service is restarted there.

Amtrak crashAP Photo/Julio CortezWorkers labour on the site where a deadly train derailment occurred earlier in the week, Friday, May 15, 2015, in Philadelphia. Amtrak is working to restore Northeast Corridor rail service between New York City and Philadelphia. Service was suspended after a train derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, killing eight passengers and injuring more than 200.

Amtrak apparently has those circuits installed on the southbound side of the Frankford Junction where derailment happened Tuesday, but the Journal reports that equipment was not protecting the northbound side.

The incident has rekindled ongoing arguments among lawmakers about Amtrak and related infrastructure funding.

The conversation reached a boiling point Wednesday, after the House Appropriations Committee backed a measure that would slash Amtrak’s budget by $US251 million for its next fiscal year. House speaker John Boehner later fired back, saying “Obviously it’s not about funding. The train was going twice the speed limit,”

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