NTSB Faults Warning System in SEPTA Accident

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation has faulted a warning system for playing a role in a 2019 subway accident in Philadelphia that killed a worker and injured another.

A northbound Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority train on the Broad Street subway line struck track workers in late afternoon on July 8, 2019.

In its report, NTSB said use of a train approach warning method to warn the workers of approaching traffic led to the accident.

The system involves having a worker watch for approaching traffic. At the time of the accident, a southbound train was approaching at the same time as the northbound train.

The NTSB reported noted that trains were approaching the work site at full speed. Trains were not required to operate at restricted speed through the work site.

SEPTA has since changed its maintenance practices to ban non-emergency track work during peak operating periods in the morning and late afternoon.

It now prohibits the use of the train approach warning system for minor track work and dictated that such work will occur when trains are not operating, when a track can be taken out of service, or when a work zone can be established.

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