FILE – This photo provided by the National Transportation Safety Board, shows damage from a Sept. 29, 2016, commuter train crash that killed a woman and injured more than 100 people at the Hoboken Terminal in Hoboken, N.J. The National Transportation Safety Board issued a report Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, urging the Federal Railroad Administration and the industry to keep developing new technology that can be used to improve Positive Train Control systems.
The system, in place on about 58,000 miles (93,000 kilometers) of track nationwide since 2020, is designed to reduce human error by automatically stopping trains in certain situations, such as when they’re in danger of colliding, derailing because of excessive speed, entering tracks under maintenance or traveling the wrong direction.
“Railroads continue their work to enhance the system in ways that further improve safety and drive down accidents,” association spokesperson Jessica Kahanek said.Chair Jennifer Homendy said Positive Train Control is clearly helping improve rail safety but that “we haven’t achieved zero deaths on our railroads, which means there’s more we can and must do to strengthen safety. headtopics.com
Currently, the automatic braking systems will remind an engineer to turn the system back on if they don’t do it within several miles of when the switching move was completed, but the safety board said a derailment can happen before that warning kicks in.
The National Transportation Safety Board said that too often the system just imposes a low speed limit and relies on engineers to stop their trains in time, which doesn’t always work.
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