Amtrak trains rolling on busy Northeast Corridor

Amtrak Resumes Service While Train Tragedy Investigation Continues

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Amtrak trains began rolling on the busy Northeast Corridor early Monday, the first time in almost a week following a deadly crash in Philadelphia, and officials vowed to have safer trains and tracks while investigators worked to determine the cause of the derailment.

Amtrak resumed service along the corridor with a 5:30 a.m. southbound train leaving New York City. The first northbound train, scheduled to leave Philadelphia at 5:53 a.m., was delayed and pulled out of 30th Street Station at 6:07 a.m.

About three dozen passengers boarded the New York City-bound train in Philadelphia, and Mayor Michael Nutter was on hand to see the passengers and train off.

All Acela Express, Northeast Regional and other services also resumed.

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Amtrak accident aftermath
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Amtrak trains rolling on busy Northeast Corridor
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Police shut down a ramp that lead to a train track near the site of a train derailment accident May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 15: A construction worker begins to unload heavy machinery from a truck to repair damaged train tracks at the crash site of this week's Amtrak passenger train on May 15, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At least 8 people were killed and more than 200 others were injured in the train derailment carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 15: NTSM spokesperson Robert Sumwalt is interviewed about the Amtrak crash near the wreckage of this week's Amtrak passenger train on May 15, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At least eight people were killed and more than 50 others were injured in the train crash carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York, which derailed on May 12, 2015 in north Philadelphia. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: NTSB spokesmen Robert Sumwalt walks over to speak to the media about the Amtrak train derailment, May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today rescue workers recovered another body from the wreckage after Tuesday night's Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, the death toll now at eight with more than 200 injured. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: Joseph Boardman (L), President and CEO of Amtrak listens to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (L) speak about the Amtrak train derailment, May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today rescue workers recovered another body from the wreckage after Tuesday night's Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, the death toll now at eight with more than 200 injured. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: Investigators and rescue personnel gather near the site of the Amtrak train derailment May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: In this handout image supplied by NTSB, NTSB IIC Mike Flanigon (R) with Member Robert Sumwalt (L) and Vice Chairman Dinh-Zarr (Center-L) work on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 derailment on May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by NTSBgov via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter briefs members of the media near the site of a train derailment accident May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: In this handout image supplied by NTSB, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt works on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 derailment on May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by NTSBgov via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: In this handout image supplied by NTSB, The NTSB Go Team arrives on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 Derailment on May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by NTSBgov via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: In this handout image supplied by NTSB, NTSB Recorder Specialist Cassandra Johnson (2nd R) works with officials on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 derailment on May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by NTSBgov via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: In this handout image supplied by NTSB, NTSB IIC Mike Flanigon (L) briefs Vice Chairman Dinh-Zarr on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 derailmenton May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by NTSBgov via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: In this handout image supplied by NTSB, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt with Philadelphia officials The NTSB Go Team arrives on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 derailment on May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by NTSBgov via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter briefs members of the media near the site of a train derailment accident May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: NTSB spokesmen Robert Sumwalt briefs the media on the latest findings into Tueday's Amtrak train derailment, May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today another body was found raising the death toll to eight with more than 200 injured. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: Members of the National Transportation Safety Board gather near the site of the Amtrak train derailment May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: Police gather near the site of the Amtrak train derailment May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Repair crews inspect damages at the site of a train derailment accident May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: NTSB member Robert Sumwalt briefs members of the media near the site of a train derailment accident May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Maintance workers repair damaged lines after poles were knocked over when an Amtrak Northeast Regional Train derailed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 13, 2015. US investigators on Wednesday painstakingly combed through the twisted wreckage of an Amtrak train for clues as to why it derailed in Philadelphia, leaving at least six people dead and more than 200 injured. Officials warned the death toll could rise after the crash late Tuesday along the busy northeast US rail corridor linking Washington and New York, as some of the 243 passengers and crew believed to have been on the train had not yet been accounted for. AFP PHOTO/ ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
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Amtrak officials said Sunday that trains along the Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston would return to service in "complete compliance" with federal safety orders following last week's deadly derailment.

Company President Joseph Boardman said Amtrak staff and crew worked around the clock to restore service following Tuesday night's crash that killed eight people and injured more than 200 others.

Boardman said Sunday that Amtrak would be offering a "safer service."

In Philadelphia on Monday, Nutter stood on the platform, greeting passengers and crew members. He pulled out his cellphone and took pictures as the train rolled out just after 6 am.

Amtrak's Northeast Corridor reopens to low attendance:

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Amtrak reopening northeast corridor, low attendance
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Amtrak trains rolling on busy Northeast Corridor
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 18: Travelers approach a gate to board an Acela Express Train at Union Station May 18, 2015 in Washington, DC. Amtrak has restored its normal service on the Northeast Corridor this morning, five days after the tragic derailment of Northeast Regional Train 188 in Philadelphia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 18: A passenger sleeps as she rides the first Amtrak northbound service from 30th Street Station, on a 5:53am departing train, after last week's derailment, on May 18, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Eight people were killed and more than 200 others were injured in the train crash, carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York, on May 12, 2015 in north Philadelphia. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 18: Fred and Sue Willison, traveling through the United States, from Perth, Australia, await their northbound Amtrak train which resumed service from 30th Street Station with a 5:53am departing train, after last week's derailment, on May 18, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Eight people were killed and more than 200 others were injured in the train crash, carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York, on May 12, 2015 in north Philadelphia. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 18: A man gazes out the window as he rides the first Amtrak northbound service from 30th Street Station on a 5:53am departing train, after last week's derailment, on May 18, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Eight people were killed and more than 200 others were injured in the train crash, carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York, on May 12, 2015 in north Philadelphia. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 18: A police officer and dog stand beside a notice board at 30th Street Station listing the 5:53am first train as Amtrak resumes northbound service, after last week's derailment, on May 18, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Eight people were killed and more than 200 others were injured in the train crash, carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York, on May 12, 2015 in north Philadelphia. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 18: A conductor signals to a fellow conductor before departure as Amtrak resumes northbound service from 30th Street Station with a 5:53am departing train, after last week's derailment, on May 18, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Eight people were killed and more than 200 others were injured in the train crash, carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York, on May 12, 2015 in north Philadelphia. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 18: A woman waits in line to purchase a ticket for the 5:53am train journey towards New York City, the first northbound service since the Amtrak derailment, on May 18, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Eight people were killed and more than 200 others were injured in the train crash, carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York, on May 12, 2015 in north Philadelphia. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 18: Amtrak Train 111, which was the first Northeast Regional train out of New York City at 5:30 am this morning, arrives at Union Station May 18, 2015 in Washington, DC. Amtrak has restored its normal service on the Northeast Corridor this morning, five days after the tragic derailment of Northeast Regional Train 188 in Philadelphia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
11 am #Acella. Decidedly empty. But I'm riding the rails! http://t.co/9tNbM5hGW9
#almost #empty #train #Frankf-AMS #sunny #weather!
Have the train to myself this morning heading toward Philly http://t.co/VahJmeUP2w
Not surprisingly, Amtrak to DC is empty this morning. http://t.co/4CoraRnLtq
Shockingly empty #Amtrak car on a Monday morning. I guess most not ready to ride up front just yet. http://t.co/21LLCLPUk0
Empty platform, empty train this morning in PHL as @amtrak resumes southbound service on NE corridor. #Amtrak188 http://t.co/fMskN9PcfQ
Never seen Penn this empty, esp on Mon morn. #Amtrak northeast corridor service resumes, but few seem willing to ride http://t.co/P2gCojEL6m
Empty @Amtrak train car on the 530am from Penn. http://t.co/UFy4Zl9AES
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"It's great to be back," said Christian Milton of Philadelphia. "I've never had any real problems with Amtrak. I've been traveling it for over 10 years. There's one accident in 10 years. Something invariably is going to happen somewhere along the lines. I'm not worried about it."

Milton said he'd probably be sleeping as the train goes around the curve where the derailment happened. But, he said he'll think about victims.

"I might say a prayer for the people who died and got injured," he said.

Tom Carberry, of Philadelphia, praised the agencies involved in restoring service.

"My biggest takeaway was the under-promise and over-deliver and the surprise of having it come back this morning when that wasn't expected," Carberry said. "That was a good thing for Amtrak."

At New York City's Penn Station early Monday, police with a pair of dogs flanked the escalator as a smattering of passengers showed their tickets to a broadly smiling Amtrak agent and headed down to the platform.

A sign outside the train flashed "All Aboard" in red letters.

The conductor gave a broad all-clear wave, stepped inside and the train glided out of the station at 5:30 a.m.

Passenger Raphael Kelly of New York, looking relaxed, said he was "feeling fine" and had "no worries."

Kelly, who takes Amtrak to Philadelphia weekly, said with a smile that if he did have any concerns, "I have to get over it."

Amtrak spokesman Craig Schultz said it was important to restore service, calling the Northeast Corridor "an economic engine here on the East Coast."

"There are a lot of stakeholders that have a say and a stake in the Northeast Corridor, so it's very important for our passengers, for Amtrak and, I think, all of us," Schultz said.

At a service Sunday evening at the site to honor the crash victims, Boardman choked up as he called Tuesday "the worst day for me as a transportation professional." He vowed that the wrecked train and its passengers "will never be forgotten."

Federal regulators on Saturday ordered Amtrak to expand use of a speed-control system long in effect for southbound trains near the crash site to northbound trains in the same area.

Federal Railroad Administration spokesman Kevin Thompson said Sunday the automatic train control system is now fully operational on the northbound tracks. Trains going through that section of track will be governed by the system, which alerts engineers to slow down when their trains go too fast and automatically applies the brakes if the train continues to speed.

The agency also ordered Amtrak to examine all curves along the Northeast Corridor and determine if more can be done to improve safety, and to add more speed limit signs along the route.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, interviewed Monday on MSNBC, noted the activation of automatic train control systems for the Northeast Corridor, and said that "we're taking a look at additional steps beyond what we've taken."

Foxx said the government aims to ensure that "intercity travel sets a high bar for safety."

"We are putting it (ATC) in place today with the northbound trains going in the Amtrak system," he said. "We are also taking additional looks to make sure we are doing everything possible" to promote safety.

"I promise you that we are looking into the entire (rail) system and we are not done yet," Foxx said.

Almost 20 people injured in the train crash remain in Philadelphia hospitals, five in critical condition. All are expected to survive.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board, meanwhile, have focused on the acceleration of the train as it approached the curve, finally reaching 106 mph as it entered the 50-mph stretch north of central Philadelphia, and only managing to slow down slightly before the crash.

"The only way that an operable train can accelerate would be if the engineer pushed the throttle forward. And ... the event recorder does record throttle movement. We will be looking at that to see if that corresponds to the increase in the speed of the train," board member Robert Sumwalt told CNN's "State of the Union."

The Amtrak engineer, who was among those injured in the crash, has told authorities that he does not recall anything in the few minutes before it happened. Characterizing engineer Brandon Bostian as extremely safety conscious, a close friend said he believed reports of something striking the windshield were proof that the crash was "not his fault."

"He's the one you'd want to be your engineer. There's none safer," James Weir of Burlison, Tennessee, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Sunday.

Investigators also have been looking into reports that the windshield of the train may have been struck by some sort of object, but Sumwalt said on CBS's "Face the Nation" program Sunday that he wanted to "downplay" the idea that damage to the windshield might have come from someone firing a shot at the train.

"I've seen the fracture pattern; it looks like something about the size of a grapefruit, if you will, and it did not even penetrate the entire windshield," Sumwalt said.

Officials said an assistant conductor on the derailed train said she heard the Amtrak engineer talking with a regional train engineer and both said their trains had been hit by objects. But Sumwalt said the regional train engineer recalls no such conversation, and investigators had listened to the dispatch tape and heard no communications from the Amtrak engineer to the dispatch center to say that something had struck the train.

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