Off the Tracks

Commuter Train

On May 12, 2015, Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC), the stretch of tracks that run from Washington, DC, to Boston, suffered one of its worst accidents ever. Amtrak Train 188 derailed and overturned in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond neighborhood, killing eight people and injuring over 200. More than 240 passengers were on the train at the time of the crash. When a horrific event such as this one occurs, we must step back and consider possible causes, if only to prevent future accidents. Amtrak by the Numbers The NEC is the busiest stretch of train tracks in the U.S., carrying more than 11.4 million passengers during Amtrak’s fiscal year (FY) 2013. Amtrak operates more than 2,200 trains daily over some portion of the NEC. It has carried more than three times as many riders as the airlines have between Washington, DC and New York City alone. Washington, DC, is the second busiest station, and Baltimore is the eighth busiest, with millions of riders. Because of this traffic load, it should be no surprise that the NEC has the most derailments of any area in which Amtrak runs trains. Three Deadly Accidents It’s safe to say we have a lot of trains rolling[…..]

9 Confirmed Dead in DC Metro Crash

Authorities have confirmed that 9 passengers involved in the May 22, 2009 D.C. Metro train collision have died.  Though the identities of all victims has not been revealed, the age range for those victims who have been identified ranges from age 23 to age 64. The operator of the train, Jeanice McMillan, 42, was among those killed in the D.C. area crash.  Metro spokeswoman, Candace Smith reported that, of the nine confirmed dead, seven victims were women and two were men. It still remains unclear as to which train the deceased passengers were on – the train that was stationary or the train that was mobile. At the time of the report, it was stated by Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty that two people, of the total 76 victims who were treated at local area hospitals, remained in critical condition. A third victim has been upgraded from critical condition. The accident that caused these injuries resulted when two D.C. Red line transit trains collided.  Though the specific causes of the accident remain unknown, it is speculated that the train’s computerized signal system failed. The system is supposed to automatically slow trains down and come to a complete stop to prevent them from[…..]

Washington D.C. Metro Train Accident Kills 6, Injures Many More

A terrible Washington D.C. metro train accident has occurred today. The Associated Press recently reported that two, Red line transit trains collided in Washington D.C., severely injuring upwards of 70 people. At least six people have been confirmed dead as a result of the accident. Investigators have not determined the cause of the crash, although it is known that both trains were traveling on the same track. According to the D.C. Emergency Management Agency, “all passengers have been removed from the trains.” Alan Ettner, District of Columbia fire spokesman described the event as a “mass casualty event.” Cars from one train jackknifed into the air, and fell onto the other train. The crash, which took place at the height of evening rush hour, occurred in the Washington D.C. area just outside of the Maryland border, in between the Fort Totten and Takoma Park stations. The two collided trains had to be cut apart in order to rescue passengers, many of whom were in visible shock. The crash is the deadliest in D.C. Metro history. Passenger Jodie Wickett, a nurse and one of the passengers, remained at the scene to help out however she could. According to Wickett, “Lots of people[…..]