Md. Pushing For Life-Saving Tech After Deadly N.J. Train Crash

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Working to make Maryland’s trains safer. The recent deadly train crash in New Jersey is re-energizing the effort to get positive train control technology installed on our tracks.

The New Jersey transit train flew off the tracks and slammed into the Hoboken station Thursday, killing one woman and injuring more than 100.

Federal investigators are now working to see if positive train control, or PTC, could have prevented the crash.

“Absolutely. One thing we always look into for every accident,” said T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, NTSB.

PTC uses GPS satellites, radio towers, and ground sensors to slow or stop a train in an emergency.

Eight years ago, Congress ordered all railroads to install the technology by 2015. Unable to meet the deadline, it has been extended to 2018.

“We need to do everything in our power just as we tried to do back in 2008 to put the controls that would perhaps prevent accidents similar to this from happening,” said Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings.

In May of 2015, eight people were killed and more than 200 injured when an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia.

In 2013, four people were killed when a Metro-North train derailed in the Bronx.

Federal investigators believe both could have been prevented with positive train control technology.

Across the country, PTC is installed on just 29 percent of passenger locomotives and 22 percent of passenger track miles.

In Maryland, it remains a top priority to get the life-saving technology in place.

“We can always be better and find ways to make passenger rides safer,” said Cummings.

The crash in New Jersey did not impact the train schedules in Maryland.

The NTSB is investigating the New Jersey train accident and working to recover the second black box.

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