Investing In Amtrak Could Save Tens Of Thousands Of Lives

After last week’s train derailment that killed 8 people and injured over 200, everyone is thinking about how to make trains safer. That’s a worthwhile goal, but trains are already a remarkably safe way to get around, especially when compared with America’s true love: cars. If Americans drove less and took trains more, it could mean thousands or even tens of thousands fewer sudden, violent deaths every year. Getting cars off the roads would help combat climate change and improve air quality as well. Government policy could make this happen.

Along with Americans across our country, Michelle and I were shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the derailment aboard Amtrak Train 188. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those we lost last night, and to the many passengers who today begin their long road to recovery. Along the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak is a way of life for many. From Washington, DC and Philadelphia to New York City and Boston, this is a tragedy that touches us all. As we work to determine exactly what happened, I commend the fire, police and medical personnel working tirelessly and professionally to save lives. Philadelphia is known as the city of brotherly love—a city of neighborhoods and neighbors—and that spirit of loving-kindness was reaffirmed last night, as hundreds of first responders and passengers lent a hand to their fellow human beings in need.
—  President Obama

Devastating photos show the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia that’s has left 6 dead and 140 injured 

At least six people were killed and 140 injured after an Amtrak train bound for New York City derailed near Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

Rescue workers on the scene early Wednesday morning told NBC News the death toll could rise higher as they struggled to access people who might be under toppled cars.

Philadelphia Mayor: “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.”  

“It is an absolute disastrous mess,“

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said last night after an Amtrak train bound for New York City derailed in his city.

Six people were killed and 140 were injured. The Northeast Regional 188 train appeared to go off the tracks while going into a turn at around 9:30pm on May 12, 2015.

In this photograph by @joseph_kaczmarek of Associated Press, emergency personnel work the scene.

Why You Can’t Talk About The Amtrak Derailment Without Talking About Our Infrastructure Crisis

At least six people have died and more than 140 people are injured in the wake of the deadliest Amtrak derailment in recent history. Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 rolled off the tracks while rounding a bend near Philadelphia, according to NBC Philadelphia, while carrying 238 passengers and five crew members. As officials sort through the wreckage and try to determine the cause of the tragedy, the Northeast Corridor — Amtrak’s busiest and most profitable route between Boston and Washington — will be shut down for an indeterminate amount of time.

House GOP kills increased Amtrak budget.

Infrastructure isn’t sexy or exciting – it’s just there.  We don’t even pay much attention to it until something tragic happens and then we ask why it happened, what could have been done to prevent it, and how are we going to keep it from happening again.

A vote to increase Amtrak’s budget was set to come before a panel in the House, and even though the Northeast is still in shock over the derailment in Philadelphia, Republicans on the committee voted against an increase, accusing Democrats of using that tragedy for political reasons.  If you have time, watch this segment from John Oliver on America’s crumbling infrastructure.  

If not, read on to see how callous Congress really is.

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To both divert attention from the slow motion train wreck that is our crumbling infrastructure, economy, and broader threats like climate change, the GOP has adopted and pursued another fundamentalist ideology: the obsessive, one might say pathological, campaign to control women’s bodies no matter the cost to women’s lives and health. Translation: They have the time, inclination, and desire to regulate your body, but not to protect it from known threats over which they have legal purview and for which they are accountable.

Ironically, and I would say audaciously, they still call their party ‘pro-life.’

—  The GOP: Fiddling With Your Uterus While Our Country Burns, by Jodi Jacobson, RH Reality Check Editor in Chief

I’m kind of loving this elegantly simple two-colour Amtrak ridership map produced for an article on Fortune.com. It certainly shows the dominance of the Northeast Corridor in terms of ridership! 

Cartographically speaking, I really like the unusual “perspective” projection, which – when combined with some lovely and subtle relief shading – certainly gives the impression of looking down from high above the continent. The labelling of the routes perhaps doesn’t quite live up to the excellence of the mapping, but this is still quality work.

(Although, apparently absolutely no one rode on the San Joaquins spur between Stockton and Sacramento.)

Source: Fortune.com – “Why America is Betting Big on Bullet Trains”

House Republicans Strive to Make Everything Worse: Transportation

“House Republicans voted Wednesday to chop about a fifth of Amtrak’s budget, less than a day after a deadly train crash that Democrats pointed to as a prime example of the dangers of shortchanging the nation’s transportation needs. They also rebuffed Democrats’ attempts to provide money for an advanced speed-control technology that federal investigators later said would have prevented the crash…. 

But the House proposal may face tougher sledding in the Senate, where transportation appropriations Chairwoman Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she hopes to set aside extra money for rail safety in her version of the funding bill. ‘We have had a lot of derailments,’ she said. 'We’ve had a lot of accidents. … So there are a lot of reasons for us to take a look at this.'”


Penn Central 4025 and 4224 by Marty Bernard
Via Flickr:
Caption: “Shot from the Roosevelt Road Viaduct taken just before Amtrak Day on March 30, 1971. Most probably the Broadway Limited’s power. Almost looks like the PRR and the NYC are cooperating.”


March 30, 1971

Photos by Marty Bernard

Amtrak Train Derails, Cars Roll In Philadelphia; At Least 5 Killed
The train, on its way from Washington to New York, went off the rails late Tuesday. In addition to the 5 deaths, dozens have been transported to area hospitals, including six with critical injuries.

Teams from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration have been dispatched to Philadelphia to investigate the derailment of Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188, which killed six people and injured dozens more Tuesday night.

Additional updates here: NTSB Team On Its Way To Investigate Amtrak Derailment

Train Derailment

Hi everyone, I’m just asking that you keep the 200+ supposed passengers of an Amtrak train the has crashed in Philadelphia in your thoughts and/or prayers tonight. The train was going from D.C. To New York, injuries were reported. I hope everyone makes it home to their families. Thanks for your time!