Amtrak Train Collides With Freight Train, Says Signalling Is Controlled By Freight NetworkInvestigators work at the scene of a crash under the Charleston Highway overpass where two trains collided in Cayce, South Carolina (Bob Leverone/Getty Images)

A Miami-bound Amtrak train collided with a freight train in the early hours of Sunday (4 February) killing two people and leaving at least 116 people injured.

The Amtrak train, which was supposed to be on the mainline, was manually diverted onto a loading track where the freight train operated by CSX Transportation was stationary.

Amtrak’s President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson told reporters that CSX controlled the entire track network in the area including the signals and track switches. However, at the time of the crash, although Amtrak crew was in communication with a CSX dispatcher over a telephonic line, it is reported that the signalling system for the the four tracks was down for maintenance.

Normally the train is directed by the dispatcher and the dispatcher in this case was CSX. The control of which train is on which track is within the authority of the dispatcher and the host railroad that controls the switch.
Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson

Train 91, en route to Miami, Florida from New York was supposed to be on the mainline, but was diverted to a set of loading tracks. It’s speed at the time of the crash, although still being under investigation was estimated to be around 60 miles/hour or 95km/hour.

National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt hinted that there was no mechanical failure responsible for the crash.

We were able to see that it was actually literally locked with a padlock to make it lined to go into the siding.
National Transportation Safety Board Robert Sumwalt

This is the third high-profile Amtrak crash in less than seven weeks. On Wednesday (1 February), an Amtrak train carrying Republican members of the Congress to a retreat in West Virginia collided with a garbage truck, killing a passenger in the truck, while in December, an Amtrak train on a newly opened route jumped the tracks at Tacoma, near Seattle, Washington state. The incident killed three people and injured 100 others.

Also Read: Lesson From Amtrak’s Failure: Invest Heavily In Railways

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