BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An Amtrak train went off an overpass near Seattle, spilling its cars onto the highway below, killing three people and injuring more than 100.
For many, it’s hard to fathom how “positive train control,” which some say could have helped prevent the derailment, is available, yet not in place nationwide.
One local attorney says until something is done, deadly derailments like the one on Monday will continue.
Dramatic images show cars dangling and others crumbled after Amtrak 501 derailed near Seattle.
Perhaps even harder to stomach, the fact that “positive train control” wasn’t in use to prevent it.
“It’s inexcusable at this point. There’s no excuse,” said attorney Marc Rosen.
It’s the same technology that wasn’t there when a train derailed in Philadelphia back in 2015, killing several people, three with Maryland ties.
Rosen says what should’ve been a wake-up call, never was.
“It’s no longer hindsight being 20/20. This was foreseeable, because this has happened repeatedly,” he said.
PTC monitors a train’s speed, and can slow it down or bring it to a stop if it detects a train is operating unsafely.
Rosen says it was ordered be in the entire rail system by 2015, but Congress extended it to 2018.
“We have the ability to improve the infrastructure, if we would just fund it, and make it a priority,” he added.
Besides PTC, some feel trains should have more than one engineer.
“If he makes a mistake, there’s no one there to stop him, like there is in an aircraft, for example,” Rosen said.
Monday’s route in Washington State was an inaugural run, one Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson long feared was being rushed.
“We always felt the reward wasn’t big enough to take on the risk,” Anderson said.
Budget concerns or not, many feel the fact that PTC isn’t fully in tact nationwide is ignorance at its finest.
“People are dying, and people are going to die until they get this fixed,” Rosen warned.
Some reports indicate the Trump Administration wants to roll back Amtrak funding, and if that happens, it could play a role in PTC plans.
The NTSB says the cause of the crash is still under investigation, and it’s too early to tell why it was going so fast.