Changes to procedures are being recommended following the Niles Amtrak derailment last fall by the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB says required safety precautions were not taken by railroad employees during maintenance and repair activities both in Niles and in Madison, Illinois. The Illinois Amtrak last February killed the driver of a car that was hit by the train. When that happened, Union Pacific employees were working on the crossing warning system, and it had been removed before the crash. In Niles, the train was going 61 miles an hour when it was routed onto another track, and derailed just before it was to slam into parked rail cars in a yard. 14 people were hurt in the accident in October. During the ongoing investigation, the NTSB investigators learned that an Amtrak signal employee was performing troubleshooting activities with jumper wires inside the signal bungalow just prior to the derailment. The NTSB is recommending the Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Transit Administration provide better training for doing maintenance on active rails.
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