A SEPTA train crash in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania has left over 30 passengers injured.
By Laurence Banville
More than 30 people suffered injuries when a high-speed SEPTA train crashed into an unoccupied train car parked inside an Upper Darby, Pennsylvania transit terminal just after midnight on the morning of Tuesday, August 22, 2017. Three passengers and the train's conductor were transported to local hospitals, according to Upper Darby Mayor Thomas Micozzie, who spoke with CNN in the wake of the accident.
Subsequent reports suggest that all four individuals are "critically injured." None of the injuries, however, are being considered life-threatening, according to Heather Redfern, a spokesperson for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, or SEPTA.
NTSB Opens Investigation Into PA Train CollisionThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a federal agency tasked with investigating transportation accidents, is now in Upper Darby seeking answers. Over the coming weeks, an eight-member team of federal experts will collect evidence and witness statements to determine what happened, why the crash occurred and how similar accidents can be prevented in the future.
Briefing reporters on the crash, Safety Board official Ruben Payan provided further details: "at 12:15 a.m. SEPTA train #155 struck an unoccupied railcar #148 while entering the 69th Street Terminal." The train's operator, who was released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon, has submitted blood samples for alcohol and drug testing to the authorities.
Payan says that neither train jumped its track during the crash, but opted to wait for further analysis before weighing in on the extent of property damage. A final report, he told the Washington Post, could take up to a year to complete.
Passenger: Train "Overshot" 2 Stations Before CrashPassengers aboard the train describe horrifying scenes. Interviewed by NBC Philadelphia, one man, Ronnie, said, "I stood up to get off to get ready to get to my bus on time and smack, it hit the other trolley. My face hit the wall, put a big hole in the wall and I went straight down and I blacked out. There was blood everywhere. The driver is all banged up and there was this one girl bleeding out of her face pretty bad."
Ronnie says that, before the crash, the train "overshot" two other stops along its trip. "I was waiting at Gulph Mills. The train came by, it blew past us about three or four train lengths, stopped, backed up, picked us up. The same thing happened at Bryn Mawr." Ronnie asked reporters to use only his first name. Neither officials from SEPTA nor the National Transportation Safety Board have confirmed this account of events.
Positive Train Control Not Installed On TrackThe train, which runs on the Norristown High-Speed Line, travels between the Norristown Transportation Center, about 20 miles northwest of Center City, Philadelphia, and the 69th Street Transportation Center.
The Norristown High-Speed Line is equipped with Automatic Train Control, a safety system used for years to brake speeding trains at stations without human intervention. A newer, and more effective, braking system touted by experts under the name Positive Train Control was not installed on the track. In May, Senator Bob Casey and US Representative Patrick Meehan announced $5.8 million in federal funding to expand Positive Train Control on regional tracks throughout Delaware County.
Upper Darby Mayor Micozzie says he plans to reach out to Bob Brady, the US Representative for Pennsylvania's 1st congressional district, for assistance in beefing up train track security. The crash on August 22 is the second to occur in the 69th Street Terminal in 2017. An out-of-service train on the Market-Frankford Line collided with two other trains in a turn-around loop in February, leaving four people injured.