Amtrak responds to FRA safety directive following deadly accident

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has directed Amtrak to conduct an immediate safety review with key workers, including track workers and train dispatchers, as the regulator continues its investigation into this week’s fatal train accident in Chester, Pa.

The FRA also directed Amtrak to improve communication among work crews, supervisors and rail dispatchers.

The directive suggests that investigators may be focusing on a breakdown in communication that may have occurred between shift changes prior to the crash, various news media reported yesterday.

Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman said yesterday in a prepared statement that the railroad agrees with the FRA directive and is moving to take immediate action.

The accident occurred when Amtrak Train 89 struck a backhoe that two Amtrak maintenance workers were using on a stretch of track just outside Chester, Pa. Both workers were killed.

The FRA and the National Transportation Safety Board are still investigating the crash. Neither agency has said who was authorized to be on the track.

To ensure compliance, Amtrak will begin a “safety stand down” with all active crews “to draw immediate attention to and reinforce understanding of an issue that we believe has the potential to affect the safety of the railroad or our employees,” Boardman said.

“We have a systematic approach to launching a safety stand down to ensure all employees are reached with this critical message,” he added.


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