WASHINGTON — A representative of the agency investigating last week’s fatal Amtrak crash in Philadelphia said Sunday that the engineer reported “nothing at all” about his train being struck by an object before it derailed.

Robert Sumwalt, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, appeared on several news shows and said records show that the engineer of a local commuter train “did report that he had been struck by something.” But there was no such communication by the engineer of the Amtrak train.

“There was nothing, nothing at all from the Amtrak engineer to dispatch to say that his train had been struck,” Sumwalt said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Amtrak announced Sunday that it will resume full operations on the Northeast Corridor on Monday. Service between Philadelphia and New York had been suspended since Tuesday’s accident. Train 110 is scheduled to depart Philadelphia at 5:53 a.m. Monday, and Train 111 is slated to leave New York at 5:30 a.m.

Amtrak also announced Sunday that it had complied with an order from the Federal Railroad Administration that it make immediate safety improvements in the area of the crash site.

Sumwalt said the NTSB will continue to look into the possibility that the Amtrak train was struck by an object before Tuesday’s derailment, which killed eight people and injured more than 200. He told CNN that “the FBI will be on the scene” Monday to examine a mark on the windshield of the train.

But he quickly dismissed the possibility that someone had fired a shot at the train.

“No, I’d like to downplay that part,” Sumwalt said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I’ve now seen the fracture pattern. It looks like something about the size of a grapefruit, if you will. And it did not even penetrate the entire windshield.”

Amtrak Train 188, traveling from Washington to New York, derailed Tuesday night as it came into a sharp curve at more than 100 mph.

Brandon Bostian, the train’s engineer, has told authorities that he does not remember what happened. An assistant conductor told authorities that she heard Bostian talking to the engineer of a train for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority about that train being struck by an object. She also said she thought she heard Bostian say his own train had been hit by something.

But Sumwalt said on CNN that the Septa engineer told NTSB investigators that “he did not recall having any conversation between him and the Amtrak engineer. But, nevertheless, we do have this mark on the windshield of the Amtrak train, so we certainly want to trace that lead down.”

Sumwalt reiterated Sunday that Bostian has been cooperative with investigators and that it is not unusual that he does not recall details of the crash. “That’s typical in some traumatic event like this,” he said. Bostian’s attorney has said he suffered a concussion.

Sumwalt also repeated his assertion that positive train control, an automated braking system, could have prevented the accident, although he declined to take sides in the fight between Democrats and Republicans over funding for Amtrak.

“Well, we’re certainly not going to get at that at the NTSB, getting into that political fray,” he said on “Face the Nation.” “But we will say that we have long called for positive train control. And we believe that positive train control, if installed and operational, it would’ve prevented this accident.”

In a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration in response to its order for immediate improvements near the crash site, D.J. Stadtler, Amtrak chief operating officer, wrote: “In the area of Tuesday’s derailment, Amtrak has completed a change to the cab signaling system which will enforce a 45 mph speed restriction for all trains operating in the eastbound direction. The existing restriction remains in place for all trains operating in the westbound direction.”

The letter also stated that Amtrak had “performed a risk assessment of all curves on the [Northeast Corridor]. All curves where the approach speed is significantly higher than the curve speed have protection against over speed in place.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.