Amtrak Engineer Blamed For 2007 Crash

Engineer misread signal to slow down, resulting in

By Matt Bartosik
|  Wednesday, Apr 1, 2009  |  Updated 11:30 AM CDT
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Amtrak Engineer Blamed For 2007 Crash

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Federal safety officials said an Amtrak engineer misinterpreted a signal warning him to slow down and alerting him to stop for any trains or obstructions ahead.

The crash of a speeding Amtrak train and a stopped freight train in 2007 left 71 people injured on the South Side. Now that crash is being blamed on the passenger train's engineer.

Federal safety officials said the engineer misinterpreted a signal warning him to slow down and alerting him to stop for any trains or obstructions ahead. The train should have been traveling at 15 m.p.h., but the engineer was instead operating the train at 40 m.p.h. when it slammed into the rear of a freight train.

On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board blamed Amtrak for not ensuring the engineer was properly trained. In addition, a relief engineer didn't tell the engineer he had misinterpreted the signal.

"We will continue to improve supervision, competency testing, training, and evaluation for Amtrak engineers, as recommended by the NTSB," Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari said, according to the Tribune.

Both engineers are no longer employed at Amtrak.

Matt Bartosik is the editor of Off the Rocks' next issue and a "between blogs" blogger.

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