America’s ‘crumbling infrastructure’, not just a campaign pillar for Donald Trump, has, over the course of the past six weeks, made itself considerably more apparent through multiple train accidents.
The Amtrak train that collided with a freight train in South Carolina Sunday, killing two people and injuring more than 100, is the latest in a string of major crashes involving the passenger railroad.
It’s important to note that Amtrak is a quasi-public corporation that receives state and federal subsidies but is managed as a for-profit organization.
There were 1,880 incidents at rail crossings in the first 11 months of 2017, including 96 with trucks, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
February 4th – New York to Miami
- Amtrak train 91, traveling from New York to Miami with 147 passengers on board, collided with a CSX freight train just before dawn in South Carolina, leaving the engineer and the conductor dead and 116 people injured. The signal system was reportedly down leaving CSX to manually route trains at the time of the incident.
January 31st – Virginia to West Virginia
- Just four days before, on Wednesday, January 31st, an Amtrak train that counted Republican Congressmen among its passengers, collided with a garbage truck in Virginia. The truck operator was killed, and six others were reported injured.
January 14th – New York to Georgia
- A Savannah bound Amtrak train collided with an SUV in Nash Co, Georgia. Both Eugene Lyons, a local pastor, and his wife were killed when the train, en route from New York, struck their vehicle as they drove around the crossing arms.
December 18th – Washington to Oregon
- About four weeks earlier, another incident occurred when an Amtrak train derailed on its initial run on a curve near Tacoma, Washington, leaving three people dead and several dozen injured. It was traveling more than double the posted speed limited when the derailment occurred.
These latest crashes are only the most recent in a string of deadly accidents over the past few years.
Congress mandated PTC safety tech a decade ago, but extended deadlines on its implementation over funding issues, a problem that continues to rear its head with a polarized congress that can’t agree on a solid budget plan.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.