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NTSB calls for end to unsafe rail practice

October 4, 2021

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently urged Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration to stop using “train approach warning” as the sole method of on-track safety in areas covered by positive train control.

The technique uses a designated watchmen to look out for approaching trains in a work zone.

On April 24, 2018, an Amtrak rail watchman was killed in Maryland using this method when a high-speed northbound Amtrak train struck him from behind. During the investigation, the NTSB determined Amtrak’s safety work plan did not adequately consider the challenges of multiple main tracks in a high-noise environment.

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