Amtrak engineer voiced concerns about dying before fatal crash, brother says

Wreckage from Amtrak passenger train collision with a CSX freight train in Cayce SC

Amtrak President and Chief Executive Richard Anderson said CSX was responsible for the tracks and signals, including one that had a lock attached to it and diverted the Amtrak train onto the side track. The control coordinates signals between trains, tracks and dispatchers about track speeds and blockages, and can slow down a train when the engineer isn't responding.

Two of the 116 people injured were in critical condition after the wreck, which occurred about 5 miles (8 km) southwest of the state capital, Columbia.

"You knew we'd hit something or we'd derailed", he said. After a recent round of train accidents and budget tightening he'd voiced concerns something could happen to him on the rails.

The head of the National Transportation Safety Board said a switch on the tracks, which the freight hauler CSX Corp owns and operates, was padlocked in a position that steered the Amtrak train onto a siding near Columbia, South Carolina, where it crashed into a parked, unoccupied CSX train. Investigators say many deadly US train crashes could have been prevented if the system was in place. That train had two locomotives and 34 empty auto racks used to transport cars, the NTSB said. The NTSB said it was working to confirm that. He said proven technology such as positive train control can not continue to be delayed. But Congress extended the deadline by at least three years to December 31, 2018, according to the FRA. Investigators looking into the crash are focusing on the actions of the driver of a truck, a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN. "The only information we were given is that he was on the train and he is deceased".

"That's what it's created to do", he said, referring to technology that regulators have been pressing for for decades with mixed success.

With the recent string of crashes, "it's becoming nearly like an epidemic for Amtrak", said Najmedin Meshkati, a University of Southern California engineering professor who has studied positive train control. NTSB has recovered the recorder and downloaded the content at Amtrak's facility in Raleigh.

A road that leads to the train crash site was off limits to the general public Sunday morning
View Slideshow A road that leads to the train crash site was off limits to the general public Sunday morning. Alex Olgin WFAE

To accommodate all the patients, officials triaged cases in a tent that they had set up several days ago in preparation for the "flu surge", he said.

Sunday's news conference provided some new details of the tragedy. There were eight crew members and approximately 139 passengers on board, Amtrak said. He was awoken by the impact, and the crew came through the cars "really quickly" and got everybody off the train.

The latter could be an issue.

U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of NY followed suit Monday, saying that "time's up" on delays, adding that 2018 "has to be a hard, legal deadline for all passenger railroads to implement PTC". One was critically injured and two were seriously injured, Brown said.

"I told him like I did every time, 'keep your eyes open watch out for people blowing the crossing because that's usually when the accidents happen, people trying to race the train'". It said the privately operated CSX maintains all the tracks in the area and controls access to the sidings and yards. Officials had initially said 70 people with injuries were transported to hospitals for treatment, but later adjusted the figure.

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