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Crash Investigation Begins on the Norristown High Speed Line

The investigation into the cause of a crash on the Norristown High Speed Line has begun after a one-car train carrying 41 passengers and an operator struck a parked, empty train car. The crash occurred at the 69th Street Transportation Center. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), more than 30 passengers, including the operator, were injured.

An eight person team from the NTSB will review the video from the crash, interview the dispatcher and the train operator, and review SEPTA’s safety systems. The investigation is expected to take five days onsite in Philadelphia and then continue with a review of the data in Washington.

US Representative Robert Brady (D., PA.) has requested the investigation be conducted as quickly as possible, mentioning the slow investigation into the SEPTA Market-Frankford Line derailment that occurred six months ago. According to Brady, “Are we supposed to wait another six months to find out what led to this latest crash? We need answers now, so the problems can be corrected and the riding public is safe.”

According to a SEPTA spokesman, the High Speed Line’s brake system is similar to the trains that run on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines. The trains feature an automatic signal system to control speed, but that system is less precise than Positive Train Control (PTC). PTC has been federally mandated for some classes of trains, but not the Norristown High Speed Line.

The NTSB also continues to investigate a crash of two trolleys in January in the Powelton section of West Philadelphia. That accident occurred when a Route 10 trolley rear-ended another Route 10 vehicle, injuring 46 people.

Regular Inspections Should Identify Problems

Train cars are required to undergo safety inspections every two weeks, according to the secretary-treasurer for Transportation Workers Union Local 234, the union that represents workers who handle the High Speed Line cars. These inspections include regular maintenance, as well as an inspection of the brakes.

Public Transportation Should Offer Risk-Free Transport

Passengers using public transportation have a right to expect their rides will be safe and without incident. Public officials are responsible for the safety of passengers and must make every effort possible to keep vehicles well-maintained and safe. Unfortunately, accidents occur, sometimes because inspections fail to identify problems – or are not performed at all. In other cases, train crashes are due to operator error.

If you were injured in the most recent crash on the Norristown High Speed Line, or any other incident while using public transportation, we can help. Our firm has worked with victims of public transportation accidents and helped them recover compensation to help pay for their medical care for injuries, as well as pain and suffering. For more information or to discuss your case, contact Heavens Law at 888-897-5377.

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