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Amtrak derailment: safety gear was not active after rush to launch service

Amtrak derailment: safety gear was not active after rush to launch service

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The rush to launch service on a new, faster Amtrak route near Seattle came at a deadly cost: none of the critical speed-control technology that could have prevented a derailment was active before the train set off on its maiden voyage.

Work to install the sophisticated, GPS-based technology known as positive train control isn’t expected to be completed on the newly opened 15-mile span where the train derailed until next spring, according to Sound Transit, the public agency that owns the tracks.

The train was going 80 mph in a 30 mph zone Monday when it raced off the rails as they curved toward a bridge, hurtling train cars on to a highway below, investigators said. Three people were killed, and dozens were injured. Federal investigators say they are looking into whether the engineer was distracted.

A positive train control system could have detected the speeding and automatically applied the brakes to […]

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