Friday, May 15, 2015

Technology needed to stop Amtrak train was installed but not turned on per Amtrak pres. FCC official says bandwidth for system was approved in March 2015

5/14/15,  "Amtrak to operate system that might have prevented crash," AP, Joan Lowy

"On Thursday, Amtrak President Joseph Boardman said the nation's passenger railroad will begin operating the technology, called positive train control, throughout its busy Northeast Corridor by the end of the year. The technology was installed on the tracks where the accident occurred, but it had not been turned on because further testing was needed, he said in an interview....

An older, less-robust technology that can also slow trains if they go too fast called automatic train control was installed on southbound tracks through the area where the derailment occurred, Boardman said. However, the technology was never added to northbound tracks through the site because many years ago a decision was made that it was unlikely a train would be going fast enough to risk derailment, he said."...(3rd parag. from end)


5/14/15, "Speed Control Was Installed, Not On at Time of Amtrak Crash," US News, Alan Neuhauser

"A system that could have remotely slowed the Amtrak train that crashed wasn’t enabled."

"According to Amtrak, PTC was installed in the section of track where the Philly accident occurred," a committee source writes in an email to U.S. News. "There have been delays in 'turning it on' associated with FCC dealings and getting the bandwidth to upgrade the radios from 900 MHz to something higher (for more reliability)."

Amtrak's application for the bandwidth needed to use the positive train control system was approved in "early March," an FCC official says.

“The spectrum Amtrak wanted to use in 2011 was owned by someone else," the official says. "It took them three more years to negotiate with private parties to acquire the needed spectrum for the Washington, D.C.-to-New York corridor. Once Amtrak finalized their application, the commission approved it within two days.”

Amtrak President Joseph Boardman said Thursday the technology was installed where the crash occurred, according to The Associated Press, but it had not been turned on because the system needed to be tested further."...


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