What Happened in Final Minute Before Amtrak Crash
The Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia sped up more than 35 mph in just over a minute before it went off the rails, the accident investigator said today.
National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said that the train’s forward facing camera not only showed the view in front of the train but also showed the speed, helping show when in its final moments the train accelerated.
- 65 seconds before the end of the recording, the train’s speed exceeded 70 mph.
- 43 seconds before the end of the recording, the train went above 80 mph.
- 31 seconds before the end of the recording, the train was going through 90 mph.
- 16 seconds before the end of the recording, the train sped past 100 mph.
Sumwalt said that the engineer, who has been identified as 32-year-old Brandon Bastion, apparently applied the engineer-induced braking just before he entered the curve in the tracks that was the site of the derailment.
And that’s when the visual in the front of the train began to change.
“Mere seconds into the turn, we could see the train tilting approximately 10 degrees to the right and then the recording went blank,” Sumwalt said.
The speed limit in the section of curved track where the accident took place is 50 mph, according to the Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
NTSB investigators have not been able to determine the cause of the speed increase, and could not tell from the camera recording whether or not it was done manually.
Investigators have not yet met with Bastion, but Sumwalt announced today that he has agreed to speak with them — so that meeting will happen at a yet-undisclosed time.
“We want to know his account of what he recalls leading into this tragic event,” Sumwalt said.