RAIL

6 April: Washington, DC

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) finalized its 2021-2022 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements during a board meeting held in early April. The five-member board voted to include 10 items in the 2021-2022 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements which involve all modes of transport, including rail. One the one main item for rail is “Improve Rail Worker Safety” but what was not included drew some attention in the rail industry. Positive Train Control (PTC) first appeared on the Most Wanted List in 2001 and has been included in some form until the current 2021-2022 list. PTC is a technology that offers extra control of a train’s movements and prevents certain train accidents from occurring. The U.S. rail industry was required by law to have the technology installed by Dec. 31, 2020. Two days before that deadline, Dec. 29, the Federal Railroad Administration said PTC was in operation on all required freight and passenger railroad route miles. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released a statement noting its appreciation of NTSB removing the safety recommendation from its Most Wanted List. “After commuter rail agencies invested more than $4 billion to implement PTC, they successfully met the statutory deadline of Dec. 31, 2020, for full PTC implementation. In addition to the $4 billion implementation cost, commuter rail operators will spend more than $100 million each year to maintain and operate the PTC system,” said Paul Skoutelas APTA president and CEO in a statement. “Industry-wide implementation of PTC has been a massive undertaking, achieved only through dedication and innovation by commuter rail operators along with PTC equipment providers, consultants and the Federal Railroad Administration.

RAIL

2 April: Tilburg, Netherlands

Two women were arrested in Dutch National Railway NS after dodging fares and being confronted by security. The security guard was bitten in the arm and also sustained head injuries. “The duo did not want to cooperate with the check and started to resist. When the NS employee stopped one of the women, she started to swear and hit,” a police statement said.

RAIL

2 April: Hualien, Taiwan

A Taiwanese passenger train carrying hundreds of passengers derailed a tunnel just north of Hualien. The eight car train came off the rails after hitting a truck which had slid down from an embankment onto the tracks. Some cars hit the sides of the tunnels. Fifty people were killed, including the train’s driver. Many others were injured. Rueters reported that authorities in Taiwan have sought an arrest warrant for a construction site manager whose truck may have caused the accident. He later reportedly apologized for the situation. Many people were traveling to hometowns for a public holiday known as Tomb Sweeping Day.

RAIL

26 March Sohag, Egypt

32 people were killed and more than 100 were injured when two trains collided in Egypt on 26 March. The emergency brakes were triggered on one of the trains causing it to stop, rail authorities stated but said it had not determined yet who the culprit(s) is or are. A second train, traveling in the same direction crashed into the rear of the other.

RAIL

18 March: Oakland, California

None of the 111 passengers or crew members were hurt when an Amtrak train headed from Seattle to Los Angeles hit a utility truck stopped on the tracks in Oakland. There was no one inside the truck which had been parked too close to the tracks, reports say. The truck caught fire immediately after being struck.

RAIL

5 March: Ottawa, Ontario

The Canadian Supreme Court ruled that two men convicted of terrorism offences received a fair trial in spite of jury issues. Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier were convicted of terror-related charges arising from an al-Qaida-inspired plot against a Via Rail passenger train that ran between the US and Canada back in 2015. They tried to contest the conviction on grounds the jury was chosen incorrectly. A second trial, however, ruled the convictions should be upheld. “…there was no infringement of the right to a fair trial by an independent and impartial jury, no prejudice, and no substantial wrong or miscarriage of justice,” the ruling said.

RAIL

16 March: Oakland, California

Johan Strydom, 32, was arrested for allegedly grabbing a 26-year-old woman by the neck at a California train station, the Diridon Station, part of the Caltrain system. Strydom is accused of throwing the woman to the ground, yelling “Fuck you, Asians,” tossing her side to side by her hair, and dragging her across the ground. The woman was on the phone with her boyfriend, who arrived quickly thereafter and with support from bystanders, helped free her. Strydom was arraigned for sexual assault, assault with intent to do boldly harm and hate crime enhancements. The victim, Tiffany, who refused to give her last name, is Filipino. The attack happened as Asian hate crimes are on the rise.

RAIL

2 March: Jacksonville, Florida

CSX, a US rail operator, reportedly had a data security breach exposing employees and retirees personal information. The breach was found to be associated with a software provider, Accellion. A company statement said they notified law enforcement officials of the hack. “To date, this incident has had no impact on business operations or our ability to serve our customers,” CSX said in a statement. A ransomware group called Clop is believed to be involved as they posted shots of the data. CSX changed systems after the attack.

RAIL

9 March: Mumbai, India

A woman trying to catch a running train almost fell and was left hanging on to the train car. She was saved from falling from the quickly moving train by a quick-thinking train guard and Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable at Cotton Green station on Tuesday morning. The woman came running to board the CSMT-Panvel train from rear end of platform when it had already gained speed to leave the station. The woman was hanging precariously on the foot board of the compartment with one leg stretched out, according to a public relations officer. RPF constable Sardar Singh quickly push her into the compartment. Train guard Nitesh Chandrakumar alerted the motorman to apply brakes of the train.

RAIL

28 February: Lötschberg, Switzerlannd

Swiss operator BLS has restarted normal services through the Lötschberg Base Tunnel at the end of February. The restart comes after completing repairs after flooding last year that damaged the tunnel.