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Amtrak Didn't Wait for System That Could've Prevented Wreck

The rush to launch service on a new, faster Amtrak route near Seattle came at a deadly cost - critical speed-control technology that could have prevented a derailment was not active before the train set off on its maiden voyage.

Posted: Dec. 20, 2017 1:51 AM

The rush to launch service on a new, faster Amtrak route near Seattle came at a deadly cost - critical speed-control technology that could have prevented a derailment was not active before the train set off on its maiden voyage.


Officials say work to install the GPS-based technology known as positive train control isn't expected to be completed until spring on the new span where the train derailed.

Investigators say the train was going 80 mph in a 30 mph zone Monday when it raced off the rails. Three people were killed, and dozens were injured. Federal investigators say they are looking into whether the engineer was distracted.

Experts say a control system could have detected the speeding and automatically applied the brakes to stop the train.

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