Uptown Normal Amtrak station upgrades includes lots of safety fe - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Uptown Normal Amtrak station upgrades includes lots of safety features

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Travel safety on trains could be on the minds of some Amtrak passengers.   On Tuesday there was an Amtrak train that separated as it was traveling from Washington D.C.  to Boston.   

One local official says upgrades to high speed rail systems will help alleviate safety concerns for passengers.  Amtrak Uptown Normal station has gotten rail replacements, crossing improvements and other safety features that were completed last year.    Normal Public Works Director Wayne Aldrich says much of the remaining work involves negotiations with Amtrak on more equipment.

"I think the parts that remain are the actual new equipment like locomotives and passenger cars as well as the positive train control system that would allow the trains to run at the higher speeds," he said.

The goal is to allow trains to run at speeds of up to 110 miles per hour using a safety feature called positive train control.   Amtrak President Richard Anderson said in a recent letter to the U.S. transportation secretary  "the installation of positive train control on a required routes nationwide will make the entire u.s. rail network safer for passenger, railroad employees, and the cities and towns which the nation rail network traverses."

We asked some some Amtrak passengers if safety is a big concern for them.

"Sometimes I think about it.   But I'm really not worried about it, it still seems to be not as often as people think.   It's still relatively safe.  I think so," said Amtrak passenger Maribeth Lartz.

"Everytime I've been on Amtrak it seems like safety is the first measure that they take.   We were coming up two nights ago they stopped and said someone was on the tracks.  as soon as it got cleared they approached," said Amtrak passenger Adam Ortega.

"I think about it for a second.  I'm like well you know airplanes are the same way.  I enjoy taking the train.   So I thought well if it's gonna happen it's gonna happen," said Amtrak passenger Janice Baldwin.

The high speed rail changes are expected to be completed sometime next year.   Amtrak also recently hired a safety expert to implement its safety management system. 


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