May 29, 2015

Safety Team member assisting NTSB in Calif.

The SMART Transportation Division’s National Safety Team has assigned one of its members to assist the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation of the crash and derailment of a Metrolink commuter train in Ventura County in California Feb. 24. Twenty-eight people were injured, four of them critically, when the five-car Metrolink commuter train traveling [...]

Metrolink train hits truck, derails in Calif.

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A Metrolink train derailed early Tuesday, Feb. 24, in Oxnard, Calif., after slamming into a truck that was in flames. Twenty-eight people were injured, four critically. The driver of the truck fled the scene and was taken into custody, officials said. The train was going 79 mph near the crossing at 5th Street and Rice [...]

House committee approves Amtrak funding legislation

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The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Feb. 12 unanimously approved bipartisan legislation that improves the infrastructure, reduces costs, creates greater accountability and transparency, leverages private sector resources, and accelerates project delivery for Amtrak and the nation’s passenger rail transportation system. The Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015, or PRRIA (H.R. 749), was introduced by [...]

Foxx says PTC deadline will not be extended

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A Dec. 31 deadline for railroads to equip all trains with crash-avoidance technology known as “positive train controls” won’t be extended, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Feb. 11. Testifying before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Foxx said his department is “continuing to hold the industry’s feet to the fire in getting PTC done as [...]

The other train accident victims: Rail workers

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In December 2013, after a Metro-North train jumped the rails in the Bronx, killing four and injuring 75, a union leader described the train engineer as “totally traumatized.” The New York accident made national headlines, but other than the union quote, little attention was given to that trauma he faced. A similar description of an [...]

Response to SEPTA’s service hours waiver request

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The Federal Railroad Administration Feb. 10 will hold a public hearing before ruling on a waiver request by Southeastern Pennsylvania Metropolitan Transportation Authority (SEPTA) to extend its current waiver of hours of service provisions for on duty points. SEPTA has asked FRA to renew a waiver that the transit agency has had in effect for the [...]

Foxx unveils Obama’s infrastructure investment plan

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Feb. 2 announced President Obama’s $94.7 billion Fiscal Year 2016 Budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation. The proposal makes critical investments in infrastructure needed to promote long-term economic growth, enhance safety and efficiency, and support jobs for the 21st century. Speaking at a town hall at Google headquarters in [...]

T&I Committee unveils passenger-rail reform bill

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House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and other committee leaders yesterday introduced the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (PRRIA), which would address infrastructure needs, transparency and other issues for Amtrak. “By compelling Amtrak to operate more like a true business, cutting red tape, and opening the door to more [...]

Driver panic, confusion common in path of trains

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Your car is trapped between the crossing gates, and a train is speeding down the tracks, its horn blaring, its lights blazing in your direction. What do you do? Hit the gas pedal and crash through the gate, or ditch your car and start running, experts say. And don’t waste any time deliberating over it. [...]

Anthem says cyberattack stole data of millions

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Anthem, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, said Feb. 4 that the personal information of tens of millions of its customers and employees, including its chief executive, was the subject of a “very sophisticated external cyberattack.” The company, which is continuing its investigation into the exact scope of the attack, said hackers were able [...]