Derailments Drum Up Concern About California High Speed Rail Safety

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A string of train derailments has turned up the heat on proponents of a high speed rail system extending throughout California.  The most recent high-profile incident involved a Spanish train that left the tracks due to its high rate of speed.  The black box from that incident has revealed that the operator was using a phone when the crash took place.

But that’s not even the latest accident to come to the fore.  Earlier this week, two trains in Switzerland crashed into one another.  At the beginning of July, a Canadian train derailed and erupted in an explosion due to the fuel being carried (an incident which has also fueled additional calls for retrofitting of the cars which hold liquid combustibles).  And less than a week after that crash, a crash in France claimed the lives of six people.

All of these incidents have served to bring more scrutiny to the planned California high speed rail, which has faced a number of delays as it is.  Groundbreaking was set to take place in July but was pushed back.

In a new report, the Chairman of the high speed rail board pointed to safety systems which should prevent a collision like what occurred above.  He explains that the California rail will have an override available that has the ability to limit speed where necessary.  He also explains that cellphone usage is illegal among train operators in this country.