Judge Orders Prosecutors to Charge Driver in Amtrak Derailment

Left: Brandon Bostian (Courtesy of Robert Mongeluzzi); Right: The aftermath of the Amtrak Train 188 derailment (AP/Mel Evans)

A Philadelphia judge has ordered prosecutors to file charges against the driver in the 2015 Amtrak derailment – just days after the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office said it would not do so.

Municipal Court Judge Marsha Neifield has asked the DA’s Office to charge Brandon Bostian with involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment. A two-year investigation by the DA’s office found that Bostian’s speeding caused the train to derail, killing eight people and injuring more than 200 others. Read more »

DA’s Office Won’t Charge Driver in Amtrak Derailment

Left: Brandon Bostian (Courtesy of Robert Mongeluzzi); Right: The aftermath of the Amtrak Train 188 derailment (AP/Mel Evans)

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office will not charge Brandon Bostian, the engineer who was driving Amtrak Train 188 when it derailed in 2015, killing eight people and injuring more than 200 others.

Following a nearly two-year investigation, the DA’s office said no criminal charges would be filed in the Amtrak derailment. Read more »

Deadline Nears for Endangerment Charges to Be Filed Against Amtrak Engineer

Left: Brandon Bostian (Courtesy of Robert Mongeluzzi); Right: The aftermath of the Amtrak Train 188 derailment (AP/Mel Evans)

Left: Brandon Bostian (Courtesy of Robert Mongeluzzi); Right: The aftermath of the Amtrak Train 188 derailment (AP/Mel Evans)

It’s been almost two years since Amtrak train 188 derailed, killing eight and injuring more than 200.

Just before the crash, Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian had accelerated the vehicle to 106 mph – more than double the speed limit at the Frankford Junction curve, where the train crashed. A yearlong investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that Bostian was likely distracted immediately before the derailment.

Bostian has so far faced no charges in the crash, and if the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office doesn’t file charges against him by this Friday, it’s unlikely that he’ll be held criminally accountable.  Read more »

Big Shot in Arm Proposed for North Philly

A view of the proposed North Station District development's first phase. | Rendering: Spagnolo Group Architecture

A view of the proposed North Station District development’s first phase. | Rendering: Spagnolo Group Architecture

A group of New York real estate investors has been working quietly behind the scenes to assemble land for a project that would be truly transformative for North Philadelphia.

As of last Saturday, their project has come out of the shadows.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported March 18th that an investment syndicate led by HFZ Capital Group plans to build two new mixed-use buildings and renovate a third on land it has acquired around North Philadelphia Amtrak station. Read more »

Driver of Amtrak Train That Derailed Sues Amtrak

Left: Brandon Bostian (Courtesy of Robert Mongeluzzi); Right: The aftermath of the Amtrak Train 188 derailment (AP/Mel Evans)

Left: Brandon Bostian (Courtesy of Robert Mongeluzzi); Right: The aftermath of the Amtrak Train 188 derailment (AP/Mel Evans)

The driver of the Amtrak train that derailed in Port Richmond in 2015 has sued his former employer.

Brandon Bostian was the engineer of Amtrak 188. Eight people were killed and more than 200 were injured — including 11 critical injuries — in the crash. His lawsuit against Amtrak, filed Wednesday in Common Pleas Court, accused the railroad company of failing to provide a safe working environment.

The NTSB report on the crash laid the blame on Bostian, saying he was distracted by radio traffic about a rock that hit another train the same night and did not slow down enough as he entered a curve. Read more »

Joe Biden to Visit Amtrak’s Wilmington Station Today

Vice President Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden.

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 »

Our Odds on the 30th Street Station Area Development Plan

30th Street Station development plan, aerial view

The 30th Street Station area master plan laid out a fantastic vision of a second downtown for Philadelphia in University City. Only money stands in the way of realizing it, with the public sector as the weakest link. | Rendering by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, courtesy Amtrak

$6.5 billion.

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 »

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