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

Guests: Robert Sumwalt, Chaka Fattah, Ed Rendell, Scott Sauer, JanelleRichards

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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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. HAYES: Yes. 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 did. 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 investigation. 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 again. 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. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 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. (END VIDEOTAPE) 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. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) 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. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep crawling, OK? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here. Hold on. Hold on. Here. Go, go, go, go, go. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get out. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Help me. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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 Pennsylvania. 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 funded? 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. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) 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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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 car? 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. MURPHY: Yes. 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. MURPHY: No. 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, also a former mayor of this city will join me live, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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 today? 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 about. 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 mark-up. 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 trains. 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 themselves. 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 hour. 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. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) 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. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) 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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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 area. 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 straightaway. 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 things. 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 train. 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 -- (CROSSTALK) 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Firsthand account for a passenger of Amtrak train 188, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) 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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JANELLE RICHARDS, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS PRODUCER: It felt like it happened 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 fast? 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? RICHARDS: Yes. 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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. RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": Good evening, Chris. It`s great to have you there, man. Great reporting this hour. Great. HAYES: You bet. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END