Temple: 12 Amtrak Passengers Remain Hospitalized, 5 Critical

Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia. An Amtrak train headed to New York City derailed and crashed in Philadelphia.

Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia. An Amtrak train headed to New York City derailed and crashed in Philadelphia.

[Update 1:38 p.m.] CNN reports: “Twenty-five people were still being treated at five hospitals midday Friday, including eight in critical condition, according to hospital spokespeople.” The numbers below reflect just the people hospitalized at Temple.

[Original] Temple University Hospital released information on the passengers still in the hospital from Tuesday night’s crash of Amtrak 188.

The hospital now has 12 passengers from the crash, up from 11 the day before. One patient was transferred from another hospital overnight. Five patients are in critical condition. Read more »

The Politics of Amtrak Funding (Or: Why Conservatives Hate Trains So Much)

Amtrak train | Richard Thornton / Shutterstock.com. Ayn Rand stamp | catwalker / Shutterstock.com

Amtrak train | Richard Thornton / Shutterstock.com. Ayn Rand stamp | catwalker / Shutterstock.com

The House Appropriations committee made a curious move yesterday just hours after the deadly Amtrak derailment: It voted to cut $252 million in funding from Amtrak.

Just because there was a horrible train crash does not mean rail funding should be increased (or even kept the same). But, obviously, a lot of people were angry at the vote — especially after reports that a safety measure called positive train control would have prevented the train from traveling so fast around the curve. (Amtrak has begun installing PTC on the Northeast Corridor, but federal officials said it is not yet operational.) Let’s take one angry comment at random: Read more »

Eli Kulp Injured in Amtrak Derailment

Photo by Jim Graham

Photo by Jim Graham

The Philadelphia Business Journal is reporting that chef Eli Kulp of High Street Hospitality Group (Fork, High Street on Market, a.kitchen) “sustained serious injuries” in yesterday’s derailment of Amtrak train 188. According to Fran Hilario of the PBJ, the severity of his injuries have not been disclosed.

Kulp, who moved to Philadelphia from New York in 2012 to take over Ellen Yin’s Fork, has won several accolades since; including Best New Chef by Food & Wine, while Bon Appetit named High Street on Market the second best new restaurant in America.

Kulp and Yin announced in March that they were opening a High Street on Market location in New York.

Award-winning Philadelphia chef injured in Amtrak derailment [Philadelphia Business Journal]

Derailment Update: Investigation Begins; East Coast Travel Affected

A crime scene investigator looks inside a train car after a train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia. An Amtrak train headed to New York City derailed and crashed in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek)

A crime scene investigator looks inside a train car after a train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia. An Amtrak train headed to New York City derailed and crashed in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek)

[Update 7 a.m.] A press conference was held just now at Temple University Hospital; Dr. Herbert Cushing says a sixth person in the accident has died. Eight are in critical condition. Most of the injured had arm, leg, and rib injuries.

[Original 6:29 a.m.] Good morning. Here are the latest things we know about Tuesday night’s deadly derailment of an Amtrak passenger train in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia:

The death toll remains at 5: Six other people were said to be in critical condition; more than 140 people were taken to the hospital.

Transit around Philadelphia, and in the Northeast Corridor, remains deeply affected. SEPTA’s Chestnut Hill West line is operating with delays; the Trenton line is suspended until further notice. Amtrak, meanwhile, says: “modified Amtrak service will be provided between Washington and Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and New York and Boston. There will be no Amtrak service between New York and Philadelphia, but New Jersey Transit will honor Amtrak tickets between New York City and Trenton.”

The investigation has just begun. “Neither Amtrak nor the Federal Railroad Administration has yet discussed potential causes,” Politico reports.

But one of America’s deadliest train crashes took place at almost the exact same spot in 1943. The Frankford Junction Crash killed 79 people and injured 117.

And political debates are already started: The derailment came on the eve of a Congressional hearing to cut Amtrak’s budget, and seems certain to renew the debate over infrastructure spending.

For now, stay away. USA Today reports: “Police in Philadelphia issued a statement asking members of the public not to go anywhere near the scene of the derailment to allow first responders to do their jobs.”
Read more »

At Least Five Deaths in Amtrak Derailment, Says Mayor



[UPDATE: 1:13 A.M.] Mayor Nutter has updated the injury toll: 65 people have been confirmed injured, 6 of whom are considered critical. The number of fatalities remains five. The mayor says that he cannot confirm that all passengers have been accounted for at this time.

[ORIGINAL: 11:50 P.M.] An Amtrak train bound from Washington, D.C., to New York City derailed in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia around 9:30 p.m. tonight. Numerous injuries were initially reported and, according to Mayor Michael Nutter, there have been at least five fatalities. A call to Amtrak has yet to be returned.

In a statement to the press given at around 11:45 p.m., Nutter said “the train’s seven cars, including the engine, are in various stages of disarray, turned over, upside down, on their side.” He added that while many individuals were able to walk off the train, “I’ve been down on the train, on the tracks with my staff. It is an absolute disastrous mess.”

Executive Fire Chief Clifford Gilliam told the media that injured passengers were taken to hospitals including Temple, Einstein, Torresdale, Hahnemann and Jefferson. Read more »

Morning Headlines: What Will 30th Street Station Look Like in 2040?

30th st station

We already know that our beloved 30th Street Station–yes, we’re still calling it that–is one of the busiest hubs in the nation. But what will it be like in the year 2040? As Jim Saksa of PlanPhilly points out, that’s partially up to you, boss:

The district plan is a joint effort by Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, SEPTA and other stakeholders to create an implementable vision for the 175-acre area surrounding the station.

In the coming months, the team will develop three different scenarios for the district come 2040. Following another round of public feedback and feasibility studies, those three scenarios will be synthesized into a single District Plan, which will be fully implementable the day it’s released (sometime around fall 2016).

So, do you really want to see the rail yards north of 30th Street Station capped and turned into a platform for the next office and residential towers in a confluence of transportation, residential and commercial activity? Then you kind of have to get involved.

In order for the rail yard cap to happen, that land (technically, the air rights above it) needs to be worth enough to justify the tremendous cost of covering it. Just as the development of Hudson Yards is covering the price of putting a lid on the West Side Yard, burying the rail yard would be effectively paid for with the rent from the skyscrapers built on top.

Here’s to get (and stay) involved in the process. You can also take this handy survey to help out even more!

Will plans for 30th St. Station District include capping rail yards? That’s up to you [PlanPhilly]

Read more »

(UPDATE) Train Service Still Suspended Between Philly and D.C.

[Update at 12:50 p.m.] Service is still suspended, and Amtrak says it can’t predict when trains will move again.

From a press release:

Amtrak Engineering crews are making progress in efforts to repair downed wires after a Norfolk Southern freight train struck a support pole early this morning on the Northeast Corridor north of Aberdeen, Md.

Amtrak Northeast Regional service remains suspended between Washington and Philadelphia. Acela Express service is suspended between Wilmington, Del. and Washington. Acela passengers are able to board northbound trains in Wilmington for travel to Philadelphia, New York and points north.

Other services between Philadelphia, New York and Boston are operating though passengers should be prepared for possible delays. Amtrak Keystone Service is operating on a normal schedule between Harrisburg, Pa., Philadelphia and New York.

There is no estimate for restoration of full service at this time, but crews are working as quickly and safely as possible.

Read more »

The One Big Problem With Bringing Amtrak to City Hall

shutterstock_amtrak-940x540

“Ladies and gentlemen, the next station stop for this train is City Hall station in Philadelphia. Please check your seat and make sure you have all personal belongings with you as you leave the train. Thank you for riding Amtrak.”

At least one Philadelphian would love to hear this announcement. In an essay in the Philadelphia Business Journal yesterday, Bob Previdi, former spokesperson for City Council member Anna Verna, noted that running Amtrak trains through the heart of the city, stopping at a renamed Suburban Station on the way to New York, would offer all sorts of benefits: increased convenience for Amtrak travelers, increased property values for homes and offices now closer to intercity rail service, and even luring New Yorkers to Philly to live, as their commutes and their tax bills would both shrink.

There’s a lot that’s appealing about this idea. 30th Street Station, grand though it is, is across the river from the heart of the city, and Previdi is far from the only person who would love to see restored the city center access that was lost when Broad Street Station was closed in 1952. And he is right to note that this city, like London, has already made a major investment in easy rail access in the form of the Commuter Tunnel.

But in saying that the only thing standing in the way of operating Amtrak service through the Commuter Tunnel is the political will to bring the passenger and freight railroads together to implement the through-tunnel service, he is ignoring one big fact on the ground.

Read more »

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