Philadelphia: As Amtrak begins fully restoring America's busiest passenger rail corridor for the first time in almost a week following a deadly crash in Philadelphia, officials are vowing to have safer trains and tracks while investigators are trying to determine the cause of the derailment.
Amtrak officials said yesterday that trains along the busy Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston would resume service today in "complete compliance" with federal safety orders following last week's deadly derailment.
Company President Joseph Boardman said Amtrak staff and crew have been working around the clock to restore service following Tuesday night's crash that killed eight people and injured more than 200 others.
At a service yesterday evening at the site to honor the crash victims, Boardman choked up as he called Tuesday "the worst day for me as a transportation professional." He vowed that the wrecked train and its passengers "will never be forgotten."
"We'll open with service tomorrow morning, a safer service," Boardman said yesterday. "We quickly made changes, and I'm grateful. I'm thankful." Amtrak planned to resume service along the corridor today with the 5:30 am (local time) southbound train leaving New York City and the 5:53 am (local time) northbound train leaving Philadelphia. All Acela Express, Northeast Regional and other services were to resume.
Federal regulators on Saturday ordered Amtrak to expand use of a speed-control system long in effect for southbound trains near the crash site to northbound trains in the same area.
Federal Railroad Administration spokesman Kevin Thompson said yesterday the automatic train control system is now fully operational on the northbound tracks.
Trains going through that section of track will be governed by the system, which alerts drivers to slow down when their trains go too fast and automatically applies the brakes if the train continues to speed.
The agency also ordered Amtrak to examine all curves along the Northeast Corridor and determine if more can be done to improve safety, and to add more speed limit signs along the route.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told the 150 people present at yesterday's service that Amtrak's action on the ordered changes was one way to honor the eight passengers killed in the crash. Many were riding home to their families, he said.
"Their memories forever in our minds will fuel our work to make intercity passenger rail and our entire network in the United States stronger and safer," he said.