Amtrak Train Crash Update: Engineer Wasn’t Using Phone Before Fatal Accident

Amtrak Train Crash Update: Engineer Wasn’t Using Phone Before Fatal Accident
Southbound Amtrak Crescent Loco Steve / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Federal investigators of the Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia last month said Wednesday that the engineer involved in the accident was not using his cell phone around the time the train derailed off the tracks.


National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators said that the engineer, Brandon Bostian, had used his phone for purposes of calling, texting and using data on the day of the May 12 crash.

On Wednesday, the safety board said in a statement, “Analysis of (Bostian’s) phone records does not indicate that any calls, texts or data usage occurred during the time the engineer was operating the train.”

According to Yahoo News, NTSB further said in an updated report that Bostian did not access the train WiFi system while driving the train.

Like us on Facebook

Although some of the conspicuous reasons that could have caused the accident have been ruled out, NTSB board member Bella Dinh-Zarr said at a Senate commerce committee hearing on train safety later Wednesday that other probable causes, such as use of an app, are still under consideration. The operating system of the phone, containing 400,000 files of metadata, is being analyzed to determine whether the phone was in airplane mode or was switched off. Additional tests will be conducted on the phone to gather more information.

Amtrak Northeast Regional Train No. 188, headed for New York, derailed and rolled over in Philadelphia on May 12 at 9:21 p.m. The train was traveling at 106 miles per hour in the minute it entered the curve where the maximum permissible speed is 50 miles per hour. Although brakes were immediately applied, the speed of the train was over 100 miles per hour when it derailed.

The accident killed eight people while more than 200 were injured.

Bostian’s lawyer said that the engineer suffered a head injury in the accident, and that he does not remember anything after the train left Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station.

There were no mechanical problems found with the train, accident investigators had stated previously.

NTSB Chairman Chris Hart said that despite knowing that Bostian’s phone was used for calls and text messages, there were several inconsistencies in the phone records. The voice and texts recorded on the phone were done so in different time zones, which could not be corroborated with the time on either the camera that showed the tracks or a recorder that suggested the speed of the train and what the driver was doing.

In late May, Amtrak announced that inward facing cameras will be installed in the trains.

According to CNN, the Federal Railway Administration instructed Amtrak to add speed limit signs along the tracks. Amtrak also installed technology on the northbound side that would automatically lower the speed of the train as it enters the particular curve.

Also read: Amtrak Train Crash: Passengers To Sue Amtrak For More Than $200M

You might also be interested in: Dennis Hastert Pleads Not Guilty To Charges of Sexual Abuse