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We Still Basically Have No Idea What Happened With the Amtrak 188 Derailment

Most notably: whether or not the engineer was using his cell phone.
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Christopher Hart had few details about Amtrak Train 188 for Congress, three weeks after its derailment.
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Christopher Hart had few details about Amtrak Train 188 for Congress, three weeks after its derailment.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

It’s been about three weeks since Amtrak Train 188 derailed outside Philadelphia, on May 12, and we don’t know much more than we did in the immediate aftermath of the accident. That’s the case despite the fact that the National Transportation Safety Board released a (remarkably scant) preliminary report earlier this week. And despite a three-hour Congressional hearing that took place on Tuesday.

Here’s what we do know: The train left Philadelphia 30th Street Station at 9:10 p.m. bound for New York on May 12. At 9:21 it derailed at Frankford Junction, where a curve requires a maximum speed of 50 miles an hour. Train 188 was going 106 mph when the engineer applied the emergency brake. Most critically, eight people were killed and more than 200 were injured.