Amtrak is working on an anti-crash system to prevent high-speed derailments, like the fatal derailment in Philadelphia P.A. last month that killed eight passengers, injured hundreds and caused more than $9.2 million worth of damages. However, the anti-crash system may malfunction near freight railroads.
Radio interference from freight rails may disable Amtrak’s anti-crash system because it relies on airwaves that can be blocked by signals from equipment on the freight tracks, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
“Freight railroads operating from New Haven, Conn., to Boston, Mass., plan to use the same radio frequencies as Amtrak for their separate train-safety system,” Charles Mathias, associate chief of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, said.
“This could degrade or disable communications on both systems, causing either or both to function improperly or stop functioning altogether. We understand the criticality of this and the FCC is working with railroads to resolve the issue,” Mathias told Congress at a hearing last week.
“Amtrak has options to resolve the interference and expects to complete installation by the end of the year on rails it owns along its popular Northeast Corridor route that snakes from Washington to Boston. The passenger rail service has spent $110.7 million on the control program since 2008,” Christina Leeds, a spokeswoman, said.
Amtrak will continue to work to resolve these issues and the investigation into the crash is still underway.
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