Home Transit Safety Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Trains crashed at 69th Street despite safety protections

Trains crashed at 69th Street despite safety protections

by Jason Laughlin, Staff Writer

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Photo: JOSEPH KACZMAREK

An automated safety system would have been active in the rail terminal where one Norristown High Speed Line train struck another last week, but its effectiveness may have been limited by the conditions at the end of a line, SEPTA officials said Tuesday.

For the first time since the crash, SEPTA managers detailed the Automatic Train Control system that works to maintain safe conditions on the 13.4-mile route. They would not discuss specifics of the crash, citing an ongoing National Transportation Safety Board investigation. But they did speak in general terms about how the system worked.

A single-car train carrying 42 people ran into an empty parked train about 12:15 a.m. Aug. 22 at the 69th Street Transportation Center, the last stop on the line. Thirty-two on board, including the train’s operator, suffered injuries. The crash raised questions about the line’s safety from lawyers representing one of the people hurt, and U.S. Rep. Robert Brady (D., Pa.) even proposed a temporary end to service on the route, which connects 22 stops from Norristown to Upper Darby.

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