Feds hold hearing on two deadly Amtrak train crashes

The hearing is planned to span over two days.

July 10, 2018, 11:27 AM

The National Transportation Safety Board is gathering in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the ongoing investigations into two deadly Amtrak accidents.

In December 2017, Amtrak train 501 was going twice the speed limit in around a curve in DuPont, Washington when it careened off the tracks, according to a preliminary report. That accident killed three people and injured dozens of others.

In February 2018, A Miami-bound Amtrak train collided with a freight train in South Carolina killing two people and injuring 116 after a track switch was in the wrong position, putting an Amtrak train on the wrong course, according to the NTSB.

Expected to be at the center of this week's discussion among train safety experts is "positive train control", a technology that can automatically slow or stop locomotives in dangerous situations.

The technology could have prevented at least 23 deaths and more than 300 injuries over the past decade, NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt testified in February.

Investigators are not expected to provide a probable cause of the crashes during this week's meetings. Major NTSB investigations typically span 12-18 months.