May 13, 2015 2:51 pm -


The Amtrak disaster that resulted in seven dead was going twice as fast as required.

Authorities haven’t said, definitively, what caused the derailment of Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. But a source briefed by investigators said the train was believed to have been traveling in excess of 100 mph. That would be about twice the 50 mph speed limit for the curve it was in.

An official with direct knowledge of the investigation earlier said that authorities were focusing on speed as a possible cause, given the angles of the wreckage and type of damage to the cars. The recorder, or “black box,” discovered at the scene could be pivotal by showing just that, former National Transportation Safety Board official John Goglia said.

Peter Goelz, also once a top NTSB figure and now a CNN analyst, predicted that a definitive conclusion could come soon.

“I’m afraid that this train might be going too fast for this turn,” he said.


In what has to be one of the most apt coincidences in recent New York Times history, two mayors – New York City’s Bill DeBlasio and Oklahoma City’s Mick Cornett – had written an editorial on the infrastructure crisis that ran in today’s issue:

In New York City, subways and buses are overcrowded and often unreliable, and roadways and bridges are in dire need of repair and rehabilitation. From the next phase of the Second Avenue subway to plans to connect the Metro-North Railroad to Pennsylvania Station, to the proposed new subway line under Utica Avenue in Brooklyn, there isn’t a short- or long-term expansion project that isn’t dependent on federal funding.

In Oklahoma City, highway bridges are failing, city and state roads are unable to keep up with the region’s growth, and the bus system struggles to meet demands. Just last week in Oklahoma City, the state Transportation Commission declared an emergency after learning that more than half of the piers supporting a heavily trafficked bridge on an Interstate had been damaged by salt and weather. …

Working Americans pay the price of federal apathy. Those with little means have the fewest options; mass transit is often their only way to get around. Transit ridership is at record highs, with 10.8 billion trips in 2014. Meanwhile, in the 102 largest metropolitan regions, motorists take more than 200 million trips every day across deficient bridges. Freight volumes are expected to increase by 24 percent in the next seven years.

Federal investment has not kept pace with this demand, resulting in an outdated, overburdened surface transportation system that is ill equipped to handle current, let alone future, need. Spending on infrastructure in the United States has sunk to 1.7 percent of gross domestic product, a 20-year low.

The Department of Transportation estimates that by 2030, it will cost $84 billion to $105 billion a year just to keep the highway, bridge and transit systems in good repair, and up to $170 billion a year to improve conditions and performance.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world races ahead. Europe spends 5 percent of G.D.P. on infrastructure, and China 9 percent. Global cities like London and Beijing are investing in transit and rail projects on a vast scale, while in New York City, more than 160 bridges were built over a century ago, and large portions of our subway’s signal system are more than 50 years old. Some of the subway cars we ride in were built before 1975.



D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

42 responses to Train Was Going Twice As Fast As It Should Have

  1. Foundryman May 13th, 2015 at 10:33 am

    More evidence we are letting the country crumble all around us. The infrastructure that serves all of us, our roads, bridges, water, sewers, railroads, healthcare, education and environment is already in terrible disrepair, yet all we hear is tax cuts to the rich and bomb Iran is all we need.

  2. dave-dr-gonzo May 13th, 2015 at 10:37 am

    If you have ever played tourust or done business in Europe, you know how ubiquitous train service is. I will be back there on business soon, and I will be going from airport to hotel and back via train and between cities via train.

    Amtrak is saddled with a low-tech fleet. Nevertheless, I use it every time I have to head to Philly or DC from NYC. This should be a wake-up call not only about the train system in this country but the overall infrastructure.

    • Foundryman May 13th, 2015 at 10:43 am

      We should be leading the world in advanced rail systems yet we are falling behind because we “can’t afford it”.
      People are just to stupid to see we can’t afford not to!

      • whatthe46 May 13th, 2015 at 9:01 pm

        apparently the money is better spent on needless wars.

    • Larry Schmitt May 13th, 2015 at 11:11 am

      I read something a few years ago that explained at least part of the reason Europe’s infrastructure, including rail, are that they were almost totally destroyed by WWII, and then rebuilt by the Marshall Plan. So Western Europe got new highways and bridges and railroads, and ours kept getting older. And there’s no one to fund a new Marshall Plan for us.

  3. William May 13th, 2015 at 10:46 am


    • Foundryman May 13th, 2015 at 10:49 am

      The thing about Amtrak is, like social security, republicans have been opposed to it since the beginning.

      • dave-dr-gonzo May 13th, 2015 at 11:23 am

        Congress should mandate that all Congressional travel between DC and cities served by Amtrak on the Northeast Corridor be via Amtrak. I’m not holding my breath, though…

        • Larry Schmitt May 13th, 2015 at 11:38 am

          They did something similar with the Postal Service for years. Most government agencies, including Defense and the Treasury (coins ordered from Bureau of the Mint) had to use the Postal Service as opposed to UPS or FEDEX. That was convenient for me, as the coins I bought could be picked up at the Post Office 3 blocks away. But it was repealed several years ago, and now they use FEDEX, which is on the other side of town.

          • bobby1122 May 13th, 2015 at 1:24 pm

            Post Office= Govt. controlled operation losing 8 BILLION a year– FEX-EX and UPS – more cost efficient private businesses making a profit to stay in business.

          • Larry Schmitt May 13th, 2015 at 1:33 pm

            The reason they are losing money is they were forced by Congress to pay up front for the future retiree health care costs, at $5.5 billion per year. No other corporation, including UPS and FEDEX, has ever been required to do that. They have never recovered from that.

          • bobby1122 May 13th, 2015 at 2:38 pm

            Govt Union run FIXED pension plans are underfunded in The BILLIONS in almost every state.. CA- CALPERs( public employees unions) and CALSTERS( teachers unions) underfunded by $ 600 BILLION combined.

          • Larry Schmitt May 13th, 2015 at 2:40 pm

            We’re not talking about state pensions, or unions, we’re talking about the USPS, which was forced by congress to do something no other corporation or agency was forced to do. And it’s not their pension, it’s the retiree health costs.

          • fahvel May 14th, 2015 at 1:37 pm

            if you’re going to babble nonsense, do it in the bathroom, not here.

          • bobby1122 May 14th, 2015 at 2:26 pm

            Here’s LA Times babble for you- if you can read.

          • fahvel May 14th, 2015 at 1:37 pm

            if you’re going to babble nonsense, do it in the bathroom, not here.

          • StoneyCurtisll May 13th, 2015 at 3:52 pm

            The US Postal Service is Constitutionally Mandated…
            Why do you hate the Founding Fathers, and the Constitution?

          • tracey marie May 13th, 2015 at 6:35 pm

            and more expensive.

  4. madashellnow May 13th, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Wasn’t this one of the ‘shovel ready jobs’ that never got done??

    • StoneyCurtisll May 13th, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Two years…
      And what has the republican controlled congress done for Amtrack, or You?

      • madashellnow May 13th, 2015 at 5:09 pm

        I’ll let you know as soon as you explain why the Democrats didn’t pass a bill.

        • arc99 May 13th, 2015 at 5:53 pm

          Why don’t you explain how a train traveling twice as fast as it should, has anything to do with legislative activity on Capitol Hill.

          Wasn’t it you who said just yesterday that America has the highest taxes in the civilized world when the fact is we do not.

          You have every right to make up BS out of thin air.

          I have every right to point out that your post is in fact BS.

        • bpollen May 14th, 2015 at 4:30 am

          Filibusters. Easy answer. Little research, you coulda answered your own question. But, when you are just regurgitating nonsense, research would just prove you’re full of it, and you can’t have that, eh?

    • tracey marie May 13th, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      actually only 6 months were held completly, the teabaggs held up elected Dems for multiple recounts

  5. madashellnow May 13th, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Like there has never been a train crash in Europe where people died? Check Spain in July 2013 where 80 died. How can blame be placed even before the cause is known??? That’s just ignorant!

  6. bobby1122 May 13th, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Remember the stimulus bill and shovel ready jobs– the money went to union pension funds ( way in debt and underfunded) – and not to actual repairs – Here is Barry and his Jobs Council joking about that rip-off-— Here is the Joker- laughing at your expense-

    • OldLefty May 13th, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      In MY state the money went to create a lot of jobs, while the CBO said it saved and created over 3 million jobs.
      Meanwhile GOPers like Paul Ryan were quick to line up for that money.

      It was only the stimulus that saved us from the 2nd Republican Great Depression.

      Meanwhile, this is the classic cut and edit that right wing media is famous for.
      And the jobs that were created was a big part of Obama winning re-election.

    • William May 13th, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      the money went to union pension funds
      proof please.

    • allison1050 May 13th, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      I must say that I have to give it to you for having the balls to actually use Faux as a source.

    • arc99 May 13th, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      43 seconds of out of context comments from 3 years ago proves nothing other than the intellectual dishonesty of Obama-haters.

      what we do know is that you are whining about repairs that definitely would never happen if conservatives had their way as the GOP in Congress opposed the stimulus bill.

    • arc99 May 13th, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Here is a link to the AP report updated with information on the train’s apparent excessive speed.

      Another Obama-hater completely wrong on the facts, as usual.

      Amtrak in deadly crash was traveling 107 mph: analysis

      • allison1050 May 13th, 2015 at 6:20 pm

        Well smarty pants, look at the links little bobby provides. 😉

    • StoneyCurtisll May 13th, 2015 at 3:44 pm

      Next time tell a more believable lie..

    • allison1050 May 13th, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      Baby, you’re actually NOT helping your argument when all you seem to do is read rag links like those two. With ALL of the reading material available to you on the internet and this is it??

    • tracey marie May 13th, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      It must hurt you to be so stupid.

    • robert May 14th, 2015 at 11:49 am

      the republicons would never pass a bill that would help union pensions

      your post failed before you clicked the bottom right button 🙁

  7. StoneyCurtisll May 13th, 2015 at 3:43 pm

  8. StoneyCurtisll May 13th, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Train Was Going Twice As Fast As It Should Have…
    “thanks Obama”…

  9. anothertoothpick May 14th, 2015 at 7:39 am

    The Japanese have a “bullet train” that travels 300mph.

    The US is trying to figure out how to make trains travel 50mph.

  10. Jimmy Fleck May 14th, 2015 at 11:11 am

    I don’t see how a train engineer failing to properly operate a train is an indicator that the infrastructure is crumbling. Sure we need to invest more in our roads, rails, air traffic control, etc. but this particular accident had nothing to do with a failure of the infrastructure.

  11. Gadea May 15th, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Why would the engineer speed up at the bend instead of slowing down?

    Did he deliberately crash this train?

  12. Gadea May 15th, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    The engineer sped up the train, more than once.

    NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said the train’s

    forward-looking camera revealed that it was traveling

    at 70 mph 65 seconds before the derailment.

    12 seconds later, it bumped up to 80 mph,

    the authorized maximum in the stretch of track before the curve.

    12 seconds after that, it jumped to 90 mph,

    and 16 seconds later, it accelerated to 100 mph.