Amtrak has signed a set of contracts totaling $1.8 billion with manufacturing company Alstom for the design and building process of 28 new high-speed trains.
Vice President Joe Biden will speak at the Wilmington, Delaware train station that bears his name today at 3 p.m. to announce new funding for Amtrak. Biden is expected to reveal a $2.5 billion deal to improve efficiency and infrastructure through a partnership between Amtrak and an unidentified firm specializing in high-speed trains, according to NBC 10. Read more »
The giant flipboard that’s sat in the center of 30th Street Station for three decades and faithfully alerted passengers of train departures is being phased out for a newer, digital model.
The figure was tossed out rather casually in the course of yesterday’s formal unveiling of the two-years-in-the-making master development plan for the area surrounding 30th Street Station in University City, but it represents the largest single bet yet placed on the future of Philadelphia.
The parties involved — Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, PennDOT, SEPTA, and a slew of elected officials and community groups — have put their chips down on a project that has many moving parts and will play out over the course of decades.
As we’ve seen plans almost as ambitious as this one go up in smoke (anyone here remember River City?), it’s only logical that we should ask what its chances for completion are. Herewith are my own odds for the plan’s key components and the overall chances that the plan will be fully realized sometime in our or our children’s lifetimes. Read more »
This morning, Amtrak, SEPTA and Drexel University officials unveiled plans for a massive transformation of the area around 30th Street Station.
The massive, multi-decade 30th Street Station District Plan would, when completed, turn the area around 30th Street Station into a second downtown for Philadelphia focused on the second-busiest station in the Amtrak system. That station, transformed into a multimodal transportation hub for the region, would serve as the linchpin of the planned development.
New office, retail and residential buildings containing 18 million square feet of total space and 40 acres of open space would be created under the plan, with most of the development privately financed. A total of $2 billion in public investment would leverage an additional $4.5 billion in private investment. These figures are on top of the $3.5 billion Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust have already pledged to see the Schuylkill Yards development, which Drexel President John Fry described as “a down payment” on the plan at this morning’s public unveiling, to completion. Read more »
Flanked by officials from Amtrak and SEPTA, Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey today called for more money for safety measures on train lines across the country. Earlier, he had been briefed on progress implementing positive train control, a measure that most likely would have prevented the derailment of Amtrak 188 a year ago.
“We need to invest more in safety,” Casey said under the Pennsylvania Railroad World War II Memorial angel statue. “So that Amtrak and any other rail system has the resources they need … the technology allows a measure of safety that we didn’t have a few years ago.” Read more »
One person reportedly lost a leg Sunday night after being struck by an Amtrak train in Bensalem.
It was Amtrak’s second serious accident of the day in the Philadelphia area, following a Sunday morning derailment in Chester that killed two people. And both accidents took place nearly a year after last May’s deadly Philadelphia derailment.
This is a developing story.
UPDATE, 2:40 p.m.: U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer told reporters in New York that an Amtrak backhoe operator and a supervisor were the two people killed by an early morning train crash in Chester, according to the Associated Press.
Schumer said he spoke with Amtrak board chairman Anthony Coscia.
SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch said Amtrak had notified SEPTA that they were going to have a work crew out in Chester on Sunday morning.
“It’s standard for them to let us know, because we run the Wilmington-Newark line on those same tracks,” he said.
Steve Forbes, the chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media who mounted unsuccessful bids to become the Republican presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, was on Train 89.
“I’m fine. Prayers to families of those killed and injured,” Forbes tweeted earlier today.
Forbes had been scheduled to appear on C-SPAN. He ended up calling in to the station and describing the tense moments after the crash.
“Fortunately we there was no panic,” he said. “When officials came back they were relieved, because in a couple cars there was panic…It was just waiting and waiting and waiting.”
EARLIER: Officials shared little new information during a late-morning news conference about Sunday’s Amtrak train crash in Chester, Delaware County.
Chester fire commissioner Travis Thomas confirmed that two people were killed when Train 89 struck a backhoe on the tracks about 8 a.m.
Thomas said 35 passengers — out of 341 total — were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries at area hospitals. The commissioner said the two deceased individuals were not passengers on the train, but did not confirm reports that both were Amtrak employees.
Thomas said passengers from Train 89 were being transported to Philadelphia to meet relatives and pick up their luggage.
“We have most of the situation under control,” he said.
Stephen Gardner, an Amtrak executive vice president, didn’t shed any additional light on the crash. Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board are headed to the crash site to begin investigating the incident.
An NTSB spokesman said the agency will likely hold a press conference later today to share additional information.
Gardner said Amtrak service between Philadelphia and Wilmington is currently suspended, but service between New York and Harrisburg is operational.
Linton Holmes, a North Carolina resident who was a passenger on the train, described the crash to 6-ABC: “It was an explosion. We got off track and then there was like a big explosion. Then there was a fire and windows burst out. Some people were cut up, but it was just minor injuries.”
ORIGINAL: Not quite a year since an Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia’s River Wards made world headlines and focused national attention on issues of rail safety, another deadly Amtrak train derailment has occurred this morning in Chester, Pennsylvania.
Unlike the 2015 derailment, the cause of this crash seems immediately clear: According to an official statement from Amtrak, Train 89 from New York City to Savannah, Georgia, struck a backhoe on the tracks, derailing the lead engine. According to Amtrak, there were 341 passengers on the train, and an unspecified number are being treated for injuries. News outlets are reporting two confirmed fatalities, though their identities, and whether they were passengers, remain unknown.
At a press conference held at SEPTA’s Market Street headquarters this morning, SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel discussed plans to keep Philly commuters safe in the wake of the Brussels Attack. His main strategies include increased SEPTA Police visibility and requesting that travelers remain vigilant.
Early Tuesday, attacks on Brussels’s airport and metro left at least 30 dead and dozens injured.
“I think that the important thing to remember is that terrorism can’t stop a people,” said Nestel. “We won’t allow terrorists to interfere with our lives and at the same time we want to make sure that our riders, here in Philadelphia, feel safe and secure.”
“We will be more visible and we are asking the public to be more aware,” Nestel said. Read more »
On the heels of Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust announcing their joint plan to redevelop the area just west of 30th Street Station comes a draft plan for the larger area surrounding the station.
The 30th Street Station District Plan is the product of a coalition that includes not only Drexel and Brandywine but also Amtrak, PennDOT and SEPTA. Like Schuylkill Yards, the larger plan envisions a totally new urban core district emerging around Amtrak’s third-busiest intercity railroad station over the next 35 years. Read more »