New Questions About the Safety of America's Trains

Troubling images of train accidents; experts believe PTC, positive train control, can help prevent accidents by slowing down trains.
1:52 | 05/15/15

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Transcript for New Questions About the Safety of America's Trains
And this evening, new quells about the safety of America's railways. So many asks, why wasn't there better technology on the most traveled route in America? 11.6 million Americans take that route from Boston down to Washington, D.C. Every year. And as you heard David Kerley report there, that line is only partially equipped with that safety technology, the so called positive train control that would stop the train on its own. These questions as we now learn of yet another derailment, this time, in Pittsburgh. Here's ABC's Matt Gutman. Reporter: Tonight, troubling images of another train that derailed just this morning in Pittsburgh. At least ten freight cars on their sides. No one was hurt there or in this train on truck crash in south Carolina today. But they're stark reminders of Tuesday's deadly accident in Philadelphia. Which the government says could have been prevented with existing technology called positive train control, or PTC. We feel that had such a system been installed in this section of track, this accident would not have occurred. Reporter: Congress mandated that the system be installed throughout the nation's railroad system by the end of 2015, after a commuter train in 2008 collided with a straight train just outside of Los Angeles, killing 25 people. But barely six months from that deadline, and only a fraction of the nation's rail lines have it. But trains here in Los Angeles do. Is that like an auto pilot on a commercial airliner? Correct. Reporter: We accelerate the train in the simulator to over 90 miles an hour. And it doesn't just slow you down, it stops you. If the engineer was inxas stated, slowing it down doesn't do any good. You have so stop. Reporter: David, this train has positive train control. But most trains in the country do not. Now, the deadline to install the system nationwide is at the end of this year, but the industry says that deadline is impossible to meet. David? Matt Gutman, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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