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MEDIA RELEASE: Congress needs to step up to prevent future Amtrak crashes

May 14, 2015

Media Release

Contact: Julius Parod

Phone: 773-334-6758


Congress needs to step up to prevent future Amtrak crashes

CHICAGO (May 14, 2015) - Statement of Richard Harnish, Executive Director of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association (MHSRA), in response to the recent Amtrak crash in Philadelphia.

“I am saddened by the tragic events this week on the Northeast Corridor. It is discouraging to know that this horrific accident could have been prevented. We need to learn from this event to make sure crashes like this don’t happen again.”

“Passenger train travel is 20 times safer than driving and 2.5 times safer than flying, but any fatal accidents are unacceptable. Congress needs to invest in proven safety systems that would have prevented this type of crash.”

“This crash highlights how urgent it is to install Positive Train Control (PTC). PTC is used across the world, and is a proven system. In Philadelphia, it would have automatically slowed the train when it went above the speed limit, preventing the crash.”

“Congress enacted an unfunded mandate in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 for all passenger railroads to install PTC by 2015. PTC installation has been delayed because of the lack of funding. Congress needs to invest in the safety of our transportation system.”

“The fact that the crash happened on a 50 mph turn on a high-speed line, shows how outdated our infrastructure is. On high-speed lines across the world, curves like this would have been straightened out to allow for continuous high-speed travel. Hazards like this curve need to be removed to prevent accidents of this nature and allow for much better service on the line."

“Countries across the world that have invested in modern high-speed rail systems enjoy stellar rail safety records. Japan’s high-speed trains have carried over 10 billion passengers – and have never had a fatal accident. It’s time for the U.S. to catch up.”

The Midwest High Speed Rail Association is one of the nation’s leading organizations advocating for fast, frequent and dependable trains linking the entire Midwest. Executive Director Richard Harnish is a nationally recognized expert on passenger rail issues and is often quoted in the media.

For more information about the Midwest High Speed Rail Association, or to request an interview with Richard Harnish, please contact our office at 773-334-6758.

Julius Parod
Manager of Communications
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
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