Safety advocates and federal investigators have railed against a “lax safety culture” within Amtrak in recent years, but investigators warn against attributing four recent crashes to a systemic issue.
The southbound 89 train struck a backhoe on the train tracks, derailing the lead engine. Service between Wilmington and Philadelphia has been suspended. Thirty-five passengers were injured.
The Amtrak passenger train was going more than 100 miles an hour when it derailed north of Philadelphia. Positive train control could have automatically slowed the train down on that stretch of rail.
Amtrak was created in the 1970s to allow several private railroads to get out of the passenger business. Experts say that while its safety record is generally good, it needs upgrading.