The NTSB recently released its report regarding the causes of the November, 2007 Amtrak crash in Chicago. The train which was traveling from Grand Rapids to Chicago with passenger cars filled with Christmas shoppers ran into a freight train which occupied the track in front of it. 71 passengers were injrued in the crash. The NTSB concluded that the engineer misread a signal and proceeded down the occupied track at a speed approximately 25 miles in excess of that permitted under the signals then in force.There were two main areas of fault for this train crash:
- The engineer failed to recognize what speeds the signals required;
- Amtrak failed to properly train the engineer.
Because railroads are common carriers, they have an obligation to exercise the highest degree of care for the safety of its passengers. These shortcomings found by the NTSB will provide a strong basuis for establishing the liability of Amtrak for this train crash.