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Amtrak Adding In-Cab Cameras Facing Train Engineers

By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- In the wake of the derailment of that Amtrak train in Philadelphia more than two weeks ago, killing eight people and injuring more than 200 others, the rail operator is beginning installation of cameras in locomotives.

"These systems will be another tool for Amtrak and industry regulators to monitor locomotive and engineer performance," the press release reads, in part.

"Inward-facing video cameras will help improve safety and serve as a valuable investigative tool," Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman comments in the press release.

Boardman says the video cameras will be able to record the activity and actions of the train engineers inside the locomotive cab.

He says they will be operational on Northeast Corridor trains running between Washington, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston by the end of the year.

They will then be put onto engines on other routes. Many Amtrak engines already have cameras mounted and pointing outward.

Engineer Brendan Bostian, who was at the controls of Amtrak train #188, which derailed May 12th at Frankford Junction, suffered a head injury and has told investigators he can't remember anything about the accident.

The train was moving at twice the authorized 50mph speed limit when it approached the curve.  A preliminary review of the train's "black box" shows Bostian applied the emergency brake just before the locomotive and passenger cars went off the track.

As CBS 3's Walt Hunter reports, attorneys Andrew Duffy and Tom Kline who represent victims of the crash say the cameras are among several safety improvements that should have been made earlier.

"Far too little, far too late," Duffy told CBS 3's Walt Hunter, adding that Amtrak's "thought process", installing the cameras after the crash, was, in his words, "despicable."

Two weeks after the crash, the NTSB says it's still trying to determine what was happening in the cab at the time of the derailment.




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