All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 05/13/15

Robert Sumwalt, Chaka Fattah, Ed Rendell, Scott Sauer, Janelle Richards

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: All right. Thanks for joining us. I`m
Chris Hayes taking over.

We are live as you see from Philadelphia at the scene of Amtrak
train`s 188 catastrophic derailment last night, where first responders, as
Chris was just talking about, are continuing at his hour to probe through
the wreckage, the crash killed at least seven people, eight are listed in
critical condition. More may still be missing. The federal investigation
has only just begun to probe what happened.

But here`s what we know, according to preliminary information from the
train`s black box which was handed over to the NTSB earlier today, the
train was zooming northward at more than double the speed limit as it hit a
dangerous curve near the Frankford Junction rail yard. The engineer hit
the brakes but it was already too late.


ROBERT SUMWALT, NTSB BOARD MEMBER: Maximum authorized speed through
this curve was 50 miles per hour. When the engineer induced brake
application was applied, the train was traveling at approximately 106 miles
per hour. Three seconds later, when the data to the recorders terminated,
the train speed was 102 miles per hour.


HAYES: A nearby surveillance camera captured what appears to be
explosions as the train derailed at 9:21 p.m. Six out of seven cars left
the tracks and the engine was completely separated from the rest of the
train. Over 200 of the 243 people on board were taken to area hospitals
where many were treated for rib fractures for being tossed by the train`s
violent motion.

NBC News has confirmed the train`s engineer was named Brandon Bostian.
He was reportedly injured in the crash and later released from the
hospital. The NTSB has not yet interviewed Bostian or the train`s crew,
which means that while we now have some idea what happened, we still don`t
know why.

Joining me now, NBC News correspondent Tom Costello.

Tom, the engineer has been identified. What do we know about him?
What kind of legal situation does he find himself in this evening?

TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Thirty-two years old, he`s been
an engineer for five years we`re told with Amtrak, and we would expect that
if this investigation is going down two different tracks, he is – he could
potentially be facing serious questions from the NTSB, but also potentially
from police.

So, these are very serious – this is a very serious set of
circumstances he finds himself in now, with the NTSB saying the train was
traveling at near double the speed limit, 106 miles per hour, as it entered
into that curve.

The question really now is, why? We don`t know why.


COSTELLO: Was it some sort of a human error involving the engineer,
or was it a mechanical problem? And we cannot rule any of that out. The
NTSB will hasten to add that.

Meanwhile, as you know, there`s been a tremendous amount of effort
today spent on – really on the ground. The effort has been trying to look
at exactly what might be happening with the train cars. Might there be any
victims underneath the train cars? And in addition to that, trying to
isolate and find all of those individuals who may have walked away from
this crash scene uninjured, but then maybe went home, they decided there
was no sense in going to the hospital.

So, the big emphasis today has been trying to make sure they had every
passenger that was on that passenger manifest list. And now, as you know,
this investigation is very much in full swing.

Guys, back to you.

HAYES: Tom Costello, thanks.

All right. Joining me here, I have here with me, NTSB board member
Robert Sumwalt.

You gave the address today. You talked to the media. So, let`s start
with this. Is there – are there possible mechanical reasons that a train
would be going at that speed into a curve, independent of operator error?

SUMWALT: Well, Chris, we certainly want to look at that. We want to
look at the operator. We want to look at the mechanical condition of the
train. We want to look at the signal. So, we want to take a holistic
approach to understand why this train ended up in the situation that it

HAYES: When you look at the crash site as I did in a helicopter
today, the physics of what happened are pretty apparent, right? I mean,
it`s not – you guys don`t have a lot of mystery in terms of what happened,
right? It`s – how did the train get that speed? Why did it get that
speed are the big questions you`re pursuing.

SUMWALT: Exactly, yes.

HAYES: Let me ask you a legal question. My understanding is that the
nature of the law, the NTSB can legally compel testimony from people
involved in crashes, including in this case the engineer, they cannot –
that testimony cannot be used later in any sort of criminal proceedings?

SUMWALT: You know, I`m not an attorney. So, I don`t know the
intricacies of that. But I`m under the impression someone does not have to
testify to us. That`s what I`m under the impression of.

But, you know, I want to point out that we`re conducting an accident

HAYES: Right.

SUMWALT: What Tom Costello was talking about, the conductor, the
engineer possibly facing criminal charges – of course, that`s a criminal
issue. But we`re not in that business. We`re just – we just want to find
out what happened so that we can learn from it and keep it from happening

HAYES: You were very strong today about positive train control. I
think it surprised people a little bit. I was talking to Mayor Nutter
about that.

Why do you feel so strongly about it? Why do you think it`s
applicable in this case?

SUMWALT: Well, I`m very strong about it, because we believe that
positive train control will prevent accidents like the one we`re here
investigating. We felt strongly about some form of positive train control
since 1970. The technology is mature now, it can be implemented. And, in
fact, Congress – Congress has mandated this system be installed by the end
of this year.

HAYES: Seven years ago, 2008, Real Safety Act passed, signed by
George W. Bush, a bipartisan piece of legislation, mandates that by the end
of this year, 2015, inspector general looked at this and said, there`s no
way that mark is going to be made. In March, Senate committee says we got
a delay it.

Why is it being delayed? What`s going on?

SUMWALT: Well, I think it would be best to talk to the railroads
about that. I don`t want to apologize for their not implementing. But I
do want to point out that they have literally spent billions of dollars
trying to get PTC ready. There have been some technological issues.

So, I do believe the railroads are committed to doing it. I think
now, they`re in a situation of not having the time to do it.

HAYES: Let`s be clear here. This mandate applies both to Amtrak,
which is a sort of public/private partnership, it`s subsidized by the
government, and just private freight carriers across the country, right?

SUMWALT: That`s exactly right.

HAYES: And the private freight carriers have been pushing back a bit.
I mean, frankly, there`s been some lobbying about the nature of that
mandate, the nature of that regulation?

SUMWALT: You know, this was my advocacy area for several years,
positive train control. And I`ve gone out and I`ve spoken to the
railroads, and I do believe that, yes, initially they may have said this is
something they want. But it is coming. They know that.

So, I think they have as a CEO one railroad told me, we got $1 billion
cost. So, we don`t want to pull back from it now. But we at the NTSB, we
want to sigh it implementing sooner, because it would prevent this type of
an accident.

HAYES: Just to be clear, it`s designed to do something in which it
can monitor the speed at which a train`s traveling. It monitors what the
track is rated at, and if one exceeds the other, right, it can actually
just reach in, control the train and decelerate it automatically?

SUMWALT: That`s exactly right.

HAYES: Let me ask you this – I`m surprised there are as few
fatalities there are given the condition of that first passenger car that I
saw today. Do we have a sense of how passengers were distributed through
the length of that train at this point?

SUMWALT: That`s certainly one of the things we`ll want to do. The
best that we can, it`s not like airlines where you have assigned seating.
To the best of our ability, we want to go back and figure out where
everyone was seated and then correlate that to the injuries sustained.

And I think that will tell us a lot about the crash worthiness of
these cars as well as the survivability issues.

HAYES: That`s interesting. This is a hard thing to figure out,
right, because unlike an airplane, you don`t – I mean, you have no sense
of where people were?

SUMWALT: But the good thing is, there are a lot of survivors and they
can tell us, well, I was seated about here. So, that`s the good thing.

HAYES: Robert Sumwalt, thank you very much. Really appreciate it.

SUMWALT: Chris, thank you very much.

HAYES: All right. Earlier today, I got into a helicopter to retrace
Amtrak Northeast Regional 188`s route out of the Philadelphia train
station, get a firsthand look at the crash site.


HAYES: We are currently hovering over 30th Street station here in
downtown center city Philadelphia. You see below us, 30th Street Station,
the main Amtrak station and rail station downtown. That is where the last
safe stop was made for that Amtrak train headed northbound.

We will take you now north along those tracks. You can see how slowly
that train is going. This track as it winds its way west out of the city
along the river here, this is where the tracks make their first big turn.
The train tracks continue in this direction.

And this thoroughfare of track cuts through – basically runs right
through north Philly. We are now here, coming up at the turn where the
train derailed, probably what, three miles or so from 30th Street Station.

We`re still in the city boundaries of Philadelphia. We`re still in
Philly. And you`re going to see right here. Here we go. It is at this
crucial juncture here that the train – and you can see just how sharp that
bend is. I mean, that is essentially just a right angle left turn there
for that train, as close to a right angle as you can get. And you can see
the way in which it snaked the front literally at the highest rate of speed
come off the track.

You see the debris right there. Wow! You can see the debris at the
impact point at which the train jumps the rails. And this just glittering
debris that`s smashed by the force of the impact into just a rugged area of
ground there, off the track in between two lines of track.

You see two lines of track there. In between those two lines of
track, there`s a little embankment. You can see – let`s see if we can see
this, that looks like one of the front cars, essentially sheered down to a
third – only a third of it intact.

There are trains on that, you can count, one, two, three, four, five,
six cars still laying there, three of them more or less intact and upright,
three of them laying on their sides as trains are operating, moving debris
from the crash site. You can imagine a train traveling at a speed that we
now know the train was traveling, in excess of 100 miles an hour, trying to
take that curve as it takes the curve, the force is too much to keep it on
the rails.

Pulls it off the rails, as they come off the rails, that first car
hitting the embankment, when it hits the embankment, you can see how
unbelievably snatched up, looks like the impact car, I can`t be certain,
looks like the impact car, the shards and fragmented bits that are still
embedded in that embankment there.

It`s not surprising that we have the level of injury and fatality you
have. In some ways, it`s remarkable there were not more, because that is
an incredibly short bit of ground to go from 100 miles per hour, to zero
miles an hour, which is it what – precisely what that train did just in
the little – you can see just the few yards from the beginning of the
curve to where that impact is.

The last car actually looks like it stayed on the rail entirely. You
got to imagine that the fatalities here that took the full brunt of the
impact. You can see right there, you can see how again, now that we know
the speed, we`ve seen the read out. You can make a lot more sense of the
physics, the crash? You can see here how the ties were essentially bent
off – the rails were bent off of the ties by the sheer force of the speed
and the weight of that train, essentially lifting the rails up and off the
ties there.

It really must have felt like the end of the world inside that train.
The thing we`re looking at right there, that used to be a train. I mean,
it is unbelievable that there`s not more casualties. I don`t even
understand. I mean – yes, that – I mean, seeing it like that makes you
realize it`s incredibly lucky that we are not talking about many, many,
many more fatalities.


HAYES: Much more to come here from Philadelphia, I`m going to talk to
a congressman who represents parts of Philadelphia, who had his proposal to
increase funding from Amtrak rejected today by Republicans.

Stay with us.


HAYES: This morning in New York City, surveillance video captured a
dramatic scene. An NYPD officer shooting and killing a man who attacked
another police officer with a hammer in midtown Manhattan. That man, David
Barrel, had been suspected of attacking civilians with a hammer earlier
this week. A split decision police have to make in situations like that,
include whether – when to shoot, it`s a subject of special we`ve planned
to bring you today, by which we pushed to tomorrow due to the breaking news
here in Philadelphia.

I went to the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy in New
Jersey to experience the same state of the art training as these police
recruits, a 300 degree virtual reality similarity simulator that immerses
you and interact a scenario that approximate the unpredictable situations
police may face on the streets.

It was an eye opening experience and we`ll bring you the full story
tomorrow. You don`t want to miss it.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here. Hold on. Hold on. Here. Go, go, go,
go, go.





HAYES: Hours after Amtrak Train 188 went off the rails, it had
already become a political football on Capitol Hill. By sheer coincidence,
the House Appropriations Committee was scheduled to take up a
transportation bill today that includes funding for Amtrak.


REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: The budgets that this majority
continues to present consistently subsidize more and more special
interests. What we should have been doing is subsidizing the safety of
those passengers on that Amtrak train yesterday.

REP. MIKE SIMPSON (R), IDAHO: You have no idea, no idea what caused
this accident. And to use that as a means of supporting the last
amendment, support it if you want to.


HAYES: The committee rejected an amendment by Congressman Chaka
Fattah who represents parts of Philadelphia, that would have more than
doubled Amtrak`s funding. Instead the Republican dominated committee voted
to cut it by 18 percent.

Joining me now is Congressman Chaka Fattah, Democrat from

Congressman, I`ve seen a lot of folks say, similar to the Republican
congressman in that clip who we just play there, say, look, first of all,
the train was speeding, and you don`t know that more money would have fixed
this problem, this is essentially just using an accident, a horrible
accident to advance something you believed in two days ago anyway.

REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, first of all, it`s not my
amendment, it`s not my number. This is the president and Amtrak`s proposed
budget that was submitted to the Congress in February. The Republicans
decided to cut that by $1.3 billion, and also to cut last year`s
appropriations, the number they got last year by a couple hundred million.

They did this in subcommittee weeks ago. This meeting was scheduled
for today. There was going to be a fight about Amtrak, there`s a fight
every year about Amtrak funding and safety and security of that line.
Republicans have constantly proposed eliminating it or cutting it every
year. I`ve been here for 20 years. So, this is nothing new.

It has nothing to do with the accident last night, other than to say
that positive train control, which you mentioned, a commitment by the
federal government has to be in place by the end of the year, there are a
lot of people that want that extended to 2020, there`s legislation to
extend it to 2020.

This $400 million that would have went into the Northeast corridor
under the president`s proposal, a lot of that would have went for safety,
including positive train control. So, it does have a tangential
relationship to these issues.

But this is an important debate about whether we can have affordable
passenger rail in our country. It`s a big debate between our team and the
other team, and common sense. And we need to be investing in it. And it`s
really – the Republicans could have delayed a meeting today out of respect
for the accident in my hometown.

If they were to go on with the hearing, they were to mark up a bill
that cut Amtrak by hundreds of millions of dollars. I have a
responsibility to offer that amendment. I fought this fight before, and
we`re going to fight it this year, next year. We can come back next year,
and have the same discussion, because Republicans will again be trying to
cut Amtrak.

HAYES: Why do you think that is? I know this, and I covered it, I
covered fights over Amtrak when I was living in Washington, covering things
on Capitol Hill, why is it so – such a battle every time? Why is it such
a political football to get the nation`s, you know, really only rail system

FATTAH: Well, the bottom line is, is that there are a lot of people
who want to privatize the Northeast corridor, because it essentially does
create a revenue surplus for Amtrak. It`s the other areas of the country
where Amtrak provides service that requires subsidy. And so, there`s
always been some effort that kind of cut this part off, in some way shape
or form.

But it`s a critically important part, and there are a great deal of
capital needs that have been left unattended over the years. So we`re
trying to deal with that, and again, there is just as you said in your
opening, this is a coincidence. The Congress scheduled this hearing weeks
ago. There was going to be a debate in that committee to cut Amtrak. And
I was going to offer – someone was going to offer an amendment for our
side saying, you shouldn`t cut it.

So, the bottom line is, there are people who are particularly
energized about what happened yesterday in Philadelphia, and they should
be. But it has more to do with the broader debate about whether we should
be investing in affordable mass transit rather in city transit systems or
passenger rail or light rail. This debate has been going on, and is going
to continue to go on.

HAYES: Let me ask you about the positive train control which you
mentioned which the board member of the NTSB mentioned as well. A lot of
people have critiqued the way that Amtrak has used the money it has
received from the government. What guarantee do we have that had more
money been given to Amtrak, they would have prioritized being compliant
with the positive train control mandate?

FATTAH: Well, that`s the – congressional oversight has something to
do with that, but more over, you know, the Amtrak has, I believe, acted
prudently with the investments that they made to date. But this request
was in consideration. The White House wanted to ramp up this issue around
capital investment in Amtrak, that`s why they put in an additional $1.3
billion in the president`s proposal.

What the Republicans did was they cut it out. But they didn`t say
we`re just not going to have that increase, they went in and cut less than
what was provided to Amtrak last year. That was the vote that was in front
of the committee today. We`re going to cut Amtrak by $250-some million.
Or we were going to increase it as the president had proposes.

HAYES: I want to show briefly this data so people can see that
ridership is up while funding is down. That is the background context
against which today`s fight happened.

Congressman Chaka Fattah, thank you very much for your time. Really
appreciate it.

FATTAH: Thank you.

HAYES: All right. Former Pennsylvania congressman and MSNBC anchor
Patrick Murphy was on the Amtrak train 188 when it crashed last night. His
story in your own words, next. You don`t want to miss it.


HAYES: Some of the first dispatches we got from the Amtrak crash last
night came from former Pennsylvania congressman and MSNBC host Patrick
Murphy, who was on the train at the time. He spoke at length with NBC`s
Rehema Ellis earlier today about what happened during and after the crash,
and how it`s affecting him.

Here`s what he had to say.


REHEMA ELLIS, NBC NEWS: How are you feeling?

PATRICK MURPHY, MSNBC HOST: I`m OK. I feel lucky to be alive.

ELLIS: What happened?

MURPHY: It was a normal train ride, from Washington up to New York.
At 7:10 I was trying to rush home in time to see my two little kids.
Everything was fine until I heard some very violent shaking. Like
vibrations. The next thing you know, we went left, like we were leaning
left, and he finally just went over and turned over to the right. So, I
was on the left side of the train cab, and everyone on the other side flew
to the other side. (INAUDIBLE) There was a lot of debris, a lot of blood,
a lot of people crying for help.

ELLIS: There was nothing you could hold on to, you were in the cafe

MURPHY: Yes, I know I tried to grab on to the table but yes, it threw
me like a rag doll. I mean, I`m 6`1”, 200 pound man.

ELLIS: Just over your shoulder here, now you can see the emergency
crews working. That`s where you were –

MURPHY: Yes, I came out there. I made sure I helped people get out,
you know, at first I checked to make sure I had my arms and legs. It was
pretty violent.

ELLIS: It was like that. I mean, you`re checking to make sure you
were still in one piece?

MURPHY: Yes, yes, because there`s blood. And you know, I was
deployed overseas twice with the army, and so I was okay, and then the guy
next to me was unconscious, so I got him up, sat him up and pat his face, I
said, get up, brother, get up. And then he got up he came too, so I yanked
him up, and I had to pull myself, the ceiling was the side window, so I
pulled myself up on the bench area so I could reach that one exit and
punched it out, and people that were able to get out, help pushed them out.
And then I was just trying to help the folks that couldn`t move and that
were in very bad shape.

ELLIS: And once you got out of the train car, what did you do then?
Did you try to get away from the train, not knowing did it explodes, did it
catch fire?

MURPHY: No, I mean, there were people on my side that were putting
pressure on their head, and where they were bleeding from. And then I
climbed over the canteen area, and I heard some screams. But, you know,
they`re part of it, so I climbed over there, and one guy couldn`t feel
anything, so I – my heart goes out to him. And I hope he`s not paralyzed,
but then the other guy was just bleeding, a little delirious. You know, he
grabbed him, said, it`s going to be okay, you know, at that point you could
hear some sirens, you know, the first responders are coming, you got to
relax, got to sit down. We sat him down. And once he had that stabilized,
you know, he had a lot of people out. But there`s still 11 of us there.

ELLIS: When you got out, you could see over here, one of the power
lines is just teetering, and it`s a dangerous situation.


ELLIS: Particularly at night, it`s dark. How much could you see?

MURPHY: I couldn`t see a lot. So, like I know, as we walk – watch
that line, watch that line. So, I watched it there, telling people to walk
around it, they knew. But then enough cops came and then they took over
and then, you know, you just have stretcher after stretcher after
stretcher, I mean, dozens after dozens. They knew there`s six of us,
trying to get as many people out as quick as possible. It wasn`t safe for
anybody there.

ELLIS: It wasn`t safe for anybody.


ELLIS: You are lucky.

MURPHY: I`m blessed.

ELLIS: You talked to your family?

MURPHY: Yes. It`s hard to talk about, you know, emotional, to be
able to go home and kiss them.

ELLIS: You got to get to see them.

MURPHY: Yes. And I saw them this morning. And I know I`m a very
lucky man.


HAYES: Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, also a former mayor
of this city will join me live, next.



REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: The budgets that this majority
continues to present consistently subsidize more and more special
interests. What we should have been doing is subsidizing the safety of
those passengers on that Amtrak train yesterday.

REP. MIKE SIMPSON (R), IDAHO: You have no idea, no idea what caused
this accident. And to use that as a means of supporting the last
amendment. Support it if you want to.


HAYES: That`s Appropriations Committee marking up a transportation
bill that cut Amtrak today. We`re back live from Philadelphia.

Here with me now, Ed Rendell, former Pennsylvania Governor,
Philadelphia Mayor, and co-chair for a group called “Building America`s
Future Educational Fund” which advocates for infrastructure spending, this
is something that`s near and dear to your heart. You`ve been going around
the country actually this week. What did you think of the house markup

FMR. GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PHILADELPHIA: It was pathetic. It was just
pathetic. You know, normally, Chris, after a tragedy, a pipeline bursts,
bridge collapses, everyone for a couple of weeks says, we have to do
something about infrastructure. Here, less than 12 hours after seven
people died. These SOBs, and that`s all I can call them. These SOBs
didn`t even have the decency to table the vote.

HAYES: But let me play devil`s advocate. Look, the policy is good or
it`s bad? Okay? So if I`m a republican, I say, look, we have these budget
caps, I don`t think Amtrak should be getting this money. And this horrible
thing that happened doesn`t change whether how I`m going to vote.

RENDELL: Two things, number one, the budget caps are a baloney
excuse. Because they break the budget cops – they just blew them away.
So, that`s BS. Number two, the policy is terrible. Their policy is
terrible. This country used to have the world`s best infrastructure, just
11-years-ago, the world economic forum rated us number one. We`re now 12
behind Singapore, behind Iceland. It`s unbelievable. Our economic
competitiveness is hurt, quality of life is hurt. Public safety is
endangered. And by the way, if we had a real infrastructure repair
program, revitalization program, it would be the best way to produce those
middle class well-paying jobs that every politician in Washington talks

HAYES: You know, it`s interesting when you think about how we react
to a disaster like this, compared to others, I mean, if it – God forbid
had been a terrorism attack that killed seven people and there was a DHS

RENDELL: Through the roof.

HAYES: Could you imagine a single politician that would have gotten
up there and said, even if they`re right, said, we have to cut the DHS.

RENDELL: It`s pitiful. And they`re understanding a rail traffic is
unbelievable. I testified years ago when I was still governor, Senator
Shelby said, “well, Governor, you`re asking us to subsidize the Amtrak.” I
said, “Senator, there isn`t a rail system in the world that isn`t
subsidized.” What are these guys smoking?

HAYES: Passenger, you know, mass transit, light rail. Even the
systems that are the most used, basically all subsidized across the world.

RENDELL: And we can`t get – Bob Corker, a decent conservative, who
co-sponsored the gas tax, increase bill with Senator Murphy, couldn`t get
one republican sponsor, and let me give you a statistic which you probably
know. In 1994, when the gas tax was last passed. Doesn`t cost 87 cents,
today they cost $2. A movie ticket cost $4, today it costs $8. A car, the
average car cost 12,000, today it`s 31,000. Everything has gone up, how
can they expect us to keep pace unless they`re going to have the intestinal
fortitude to vote for a tax increase.

HAYES: Do you see this changing? I mean, the thing I worried about
today, when I was in that helicopter, I thought to myself, I remember
reading about how many – how many oil trains right now are coming through
Cincinnati. And I thought to myself, Jesus Lord, if that thing had been
full of oil, which it`s all the same – let`s be clear, it`s the same rail.

RENDELL: That`s important to tell people. In America, and only in
America, we don`t have dedicated rail lines for high speed lines.

HAYES: This is important. Right.

RENDELL: They go on the same lines as commuter trains and as Freight

HAYES: And they are owned by the Freight companies?

RENDELL: Incredibly dangerous.

HAYES: Right. So, they are owned –

RENDELL: They`re the priority.

HAYES: Right. And they get priority, they`re owned by the Freight
companies, and what we`re talking about the implementation of something
like positive train control, right? That has to be done also with the
tracks, which the private companies have to do, Amtrak can`t do that by

RENDELL: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

HAYES: And, you know, I don`t blame Amtrak. First of all, our rail
bed from Boston to Washington is so bad because it`s curved everywhere,
curves are inherently dangerous when you`re going any significant speed.
To give you an example, the Acela can go 150 miles an hour on a
straightaway. But from Boston to Washington, it averages 80 miles an hour,
because of all the curves. Because of all the curves.

HAYES: Right.

RENDELL: Sixty years ago, we had a train that averaged 70 miles an

HAYES: We had faster trains six years ago. Ed Rendell know this
stuff very well. Thank you very much for coming on here.

RENDELL: It`s pitiful. It`s embarrassing.

HAYES: Thanks a lot.

All right. The chief safety officer for a Pennsylvania Transit System
explains the technology that`s supposed to make train travel safer, next.


HAYES: Still ahead, I`ll talk to someone who was on that derailed
train last night. Much more to come here from Philadelphia. Stay with us.


HAYES: A little while ago I had a chance to talk to Scott Sauer, he`s
the chief officer for system`s safety for the Southeastern Pennsylvania
Transportation Authority or SEPTA which operates public transit for nearly
four million people in and around Philadelphia.


HAYES: So, Scott, you`re the chief safety officer for SEPTA, these
tracks here, we`re walking by, these are Amtrak`s tracks. But all the
trains that out here, you`ve got Amtrak`s – that they`re all using – at
certain times, the same sets of tracks, right?

SCOTT SAUER, SEPTA SAFETY OFFICER: Yes, that`s right. There`s a lot
of shared use, Amtrak`s a big owner of track in this area, and SEPTA, and a
lot of Freight lines use their track to move back and forth through the

HAYES: All right. So, take me through the basics of how safety works
in terms of speed. Obviously, the train is going to slow down to get into
the station, it`s going to slow coming out of the station. One of the
things I was noting when I was up in the chopper today was whether you go
slower when you`re – you`re basically in a city, right? If you`re on a
part of track that`s running through a crowded residential neighborhood
than if you`re sort of out in the middle of nowhere and you`re on a big

SAUER: Yes, it can change based on some of those factors. A lot of
it has to do with track geometry, whether or not there`s a curve, whether
or not the curve is super elevated, whether or not there`s crossings in the
area, there`s a lot of different factors that go into how fast the train
should be going. A lot of times, though, it`s not really contingent on a
station or a great crossing. It`s more contingent on a track itself and
what that track can handle.

HAYES: And those tracks are rated for a specific speed?

SAUER: That`s correct. Yes. And in a case like what we have here,
we have track that ranges in speed from 25 to 30 miles an hour, all the
way up in some areas to 80 or even 100 miles an hour.

HAYES: Okay. And do you guys have trains that go up that high?

SAUER: SEPTA has trains that can go as high as 79 miles per hour –

HAYES: Okay.

SAUER: Amtrak`s train can go much faster.

HAYES: So, I got to see from the helicopter today, that turn, which
is – it basically is close to a right angle as you can get on a train. I
mean, obviously the track curves, but it`s doing this, essentially.

SAUER: Sure.

HAYES: So, what`s the, I mean, the protocol when you`re taking a
sharp turn, is the turn rated for speed also.

SAUER: Yes. The track speed will be downgraded based on the
curvature of the track or based on other factors such as inclines and
declines. But yes, the track is – track speed will generally decline in a
curve. Depending also on super elevation of the curve. And then super
elevation is – think of a racetrack, and how the curves are banked. Yes.
And that`s super elevation.

HAYES: Yes. So, the more it`s banked, the faster you can go?

SAUER: The G-forces of the train based on the speed are keeping you
on the track.

HAYES: Right. So – and I mean, again, this is a basic question.
But the engineer will know the route and know what those speeds are?

SAUER: Yes, engineers go through very intensive training. Locomotive
engineers go through months and months of training, where they have to
learn every nook and cranny of the railroad. They have to learn where
every signal is, where every speed changes. Where every station is, where
every switch is that they can change from track to track, and they have to
memorize this stuff. Now, in some cases, like on SEPTA`s trains, we have
signal systems that will alert the engineer when speeds change and when
things happen. So that they can reduce their speed, they get in on the
alarming side of the cab –

HAYES: Okay.

SAUER: And it will help them reduce their speed. But generally, it`s
ingrained in them, they test on that every single year, they test on those

HAYES: So train safety, it`s something that you know, it`s not just,
you know, Amtrak or SEPTA. Right? Around the world. It`s a project we as
humans have been doing for over 100 years, right?

SAUER: Without a doubt. And it`s evolved. It`s evolved from train
safety 100 years ago, where there were no signals, trains relied on their
schedule, their schedule told them where they should be. So, if the
schedule said, you weren`t supposed to be there, then the train that was
supposed to be there just assumed you weren`t. Now we have signals, and
those signals help –

HAYES: Right. That seemed an improvement.

SAUER: And those signals, it`s a big improvement, and then, of
course, we`re evolving into positive train control, where we want trains to
talk to one another. We want chains to talk to the tracks and tracks to
trains and so forth.

HAYES: Okay. Positive train control. I`m glad you brought that up.
Because of the NTSB Press Conference that we just given, you know, they
were saying basically, if we had positive train control, as mandated by the
2008 rail safety act. If we had that at this turn on these tracks, flat
out this wouldn`t have happened. And what positive train control would do,
my understanding is, actually automate – make it impossible to go above
the speed into a turn?

SAUER: Yes, it takes a little bit of that human element away, and
what happens is now, the engineer will get a signal to reduce his speed,
and if the engineer doesn`t take some type of affirmative action to do that
to get into compliance, then the signal system will essentially stop the

HAYES: And we have – that technology exists?

SAUER: It`s out there, of course it`s developing and evolving, and
it`s out there, and we`re still looking at it, and railroads are striving
to implement, but yes, it`s out there.

HAYES: Now, in terms of implementing positive train control, is it
something that`s in both the train and the tracks or that since you`ve got
different track ownership in an area like this, you have to make sure that
whoever owns that track has done it in order for it to sort of work across
the whole system.

SAUER: Yes. The track, like I said, the infrastructure, the track
itself, has a component. And the track and the trains all speak to one
another and tells them whether or not a train is occupied, whether or not a
train is moving.

HAYES: But tracks is going to have it.

SAUER: Tracks going to have it –


HAYES: – and put it on a track that doesn`t.

SAUER: That`s correct. And they have to be able to talk to one
another. Different trains from different railroads because we share track.
Amtrak trains have to be able to recognize SEPTA trains and vice versa and
Freight trains and so forth. And as you spread out across the country, it
gets even more and more, because there`s lots of little railroads and a lot
of Freight lines that operates all over the country that eventually are
going to have to be integrated.

HAYES: Let me ask you one last question, I saw people on the internet
asking today, you don`t wear a seat belt in a train. You wear one in a
plane, although it seem always you put it on a plane, like, geez, if we
crash, we crash. I don`t know what the seat belt`s going to do. But why
don`t you wear seat belts on the train?

SAUER: Well, I mean, it`s just something historically that`s never
been there. On a commuter train, generally people are getting on and off
the train quickly, they`re not on the train for a long time. I don`t
really have a good answer for why it`s not worn on the train. It`s just
generally hasn`t been. Same as you don`t on the bus.

HAYES: Right.

SAUER: Same as you don`t on a school buses. It`s just something
that`s just hasn`t been really talked about it until now I guess.

HAYES: All right. Well, thanks a lot for taking the time today, I
really appreciate it.

SAUER: Thank you very much.


HAYES: Firsthand account for a passenger of Amtrak train 188, next.


HAYES: Earlier tonight I spoke with Janelle Richards, an NBC Nightly
News producer who was on that derailed train last night. She told me at
first she didn`t realize what was happening.


in an instant. I mean, I was just speeding along.

HAYES: And there was no part of you that was like, we`re going too

RICHARDS: No, it felt like a normal, an average train ride. I mean,
to me, the train typically moved, kind of quickly, it didn`t feel
dangerously abnormal or anything like that, and then the next thing I know,
there was just an impact and a crash and a bang, and I –

HAYES: And so you`ve heard it felt –

RICHARDS: I heard it and felt – yes.

HAYES: And did you get thrown forward?

RICHARDS: Forward and back, forward and back. And lifted up a little
bit during that entire –

HAYES: And that`s all the force of that movement ricocheting until
you come to rest?


HAYES: Were you okay?

RICHARDS: I was okay. Yes. I mean, as quickly as it happened, it
ended. But I remember thinking, what just happened. How could this – how
could a train have crashed. Did we crash? Why? How? There were a lot of
questions. I mean, I think that I was in shock.

HAYES: I`ve imagined, you sort of look around.

RICHARDS: The train is dark.

HAYES: The train is dark –

RICHARDS: The train is dark. I hear people first.

HAYES: What do you hear?

RICHARDS: People screaming, asking for questions, I mean, asking
questions, how do we get off of here, what happened? Not complete chaos,
but more so shock and fear. And I looked to my left, and there`s a woman
in the aisle and she`s bleeding from her head, and I asked her, I said, are
you okay? She said, I`m okay, I`m okay, I`m okay.

HAYES: And then what happens?

RICHARDS: And then I see smoke starting to come into the car, and
then that`s when I got scared. I was just thinking, can this car catch on
fire? Can something blow up? Why did this happen? And once I realized,
once it set in that I was okay, I was like, I have to get up and get out.
I don`t know what`s going to happen.

HAYES: And did people – did someone open the doorman manually or?

RICHARDS: No, I got up and went to the back of the car, where I
remembered that there was an exit, and when I got there, there were people,
other passengers already there trying to get the door open. So those
doors, if you press on it, they slide open.

HAYES: Right.

RICHARDS: So I`m sure that they were having trouble getting it to
slide properly. But they were able to push it open enough to start having
passengers climb out one by one.

HAYES: When you get out of the train, can you – is there a moment
where you realized what it happened at the front of that train?

RICHARDS: Yes, before I even turned around to see what the front of
the train looked like, I was trying to figure out where we – I didn`t know
that we were in Philadelphia. You know, I just –

HAYES: Where are we? Yes.

RICHARDS: I had no idea where we were. And just saw darkness, I saw
trees and my first instinct was to get as far away from this train as I
could, because I`m still thinking of the smoke. I hear people saying watch
out for the tracks, watch out for the wires, watch out for this, and I look
up, and what I see are two huge wire poles leaning in over the train, and
I`m thinking. Could these collapse? And then as I`m looking at that
scene, I realize that from where it standing, it looks like the train has
been pulled apart, I don`t know if that actually was but that`s what it
looks like that it had separated.

HAYES: Did you go to the hospital?

RICHARDS: I did, badly bruised –

HAYES: And you were okay.

RICHARDS: You know, badly bruised but okay.

HAYES: Janelle Richards, thanks for sharing your experience and
please take care of yourself.

RICHARDS: Thank you. Yes.


HAYES: NBC News has confirmed the name and a photo of the engineer of
that train. I believe we have it up now, his name is Brian Bostian. That
is a photo of him. He of course was manning a train, that was, as we know
from the NTSB, traveling very fast, over 100 miles an hour. As NTSB says,
that Bostian applied the full emergency brake just moments before the
crash. Preliminary data from NTSB indicates the train was traveling over
100 miles an hour.

All right. That is ALL IN for this evening, the Rachel Maddow Show
starts now.

Good evening, Rachel.

Chris. It`s great to have you there, man. Great reporting this hour.

HAYES: You bet.


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