Amtrak blames CSX for deadly collision

Amtrak blames CSX for deadly collision
© Greg Nash

Amtrak is placing the blame for a collision in South Carolina that left two of its employees dead on the railroad operating the stationary freight train hit by Amtrak.

In a statement reported by Reuters, Amtrak President Richard Anderson said the freight train company had “padlocked the switch off the mainline to the siding, causing the collision.”

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The early Sunday crash left two people dead when the Amtrak train collided with a stationary CSX freight train. Dozens of others were injured.

In a separate statement, Amtrak emphasized that CSX owns and operates the tracks where the accident happened, in addition to the signal systems.

“CSX owns and controls the Columbia Subdivision where the accident occurred. CSX maintains all of the tracks and signal systems,” the company said. “CSX controls the dispatching of all trains, including directing the signal systems which control the access to sidings and yards.” 

CSX in its own statement offered condolences to the families of the two Amtrak employees who were killed in the crash.

“We remain focused on providing assistance and support to those impacted by today's accident,” the company wrote on Twitter.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) dispatched investigators to the scene in Cayce, S.C., to probe the accident.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said at a Sunday press conference that Positive Train Control, a safety feature that automatically decreases the speed of a train traveling over the limit, could have prevented the collision.

Amtrak said its train was traveling from New York to Miami when the crash occurred.

The crash happened just days after a train carrying Republican lawmakers to a GOP retreat in West Virginia collided with a truck just outside Charlottesville, Va., leaving one truck passenger dead.