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US rail safety in spotlight after deadly crash

  • Written by Catherine Triomphe
  • Published in World
  • Read: 316

YORK -- This week’s train crash at a major transport hub to Manhattan — the fifth deadly US rail accident in under three years — spotlighted safety concerns and chronic underinvestment in America.

One woman was killed and more than 100 people injured when a commuter train traveling “at a high rate of speed” plowed into the station at Hoboken, New Jersey during the morning rush hour on Thursday.

Experts said it was miraculous that more people were not killed given that the train was carrying 250 passengers and the first carriage flew into the air before slamming into the interior wall of the terminal, collapsing portions of the roof.

Investigators said Friday that it could take days before they can comment on the cause of the crash, but experts highlighted safety problems and sluggish investment in upgrading railroads in a country where most people travel by car or plane.

Thursday’s destruction marked the fourth deadly rail crash in less than three years on the East Coast alone.
New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie, a prominent ally in Donald Trump’s race to become president, in July temporarily shut down $2.7 billion worth of New Jersey Transit projects in a political dispute with state Democrats.
His transportation official denied any culpability in Thursday’s crash, saying that no safety or maintenance expense had been affected.
A federal law passed in 2008 required rail companies to adopt Positive Train Control, a technology designed to help prevent accidents, by the end of 2015.
The date was then pushed back to 2018, but with the technology expensive and state budgets tight, many parts of the country are still lagging behind.