As a direct response to a deadly speeding crash that killed eight passengers and injured 200 on a New York-bound Amtrak train earlier this month, Amtrak will install cameras inside of train cabs to keep an eye on their locomotive engineers.
Cameras have, in the past, proven unpopular among rail workers' unions, who object to constant surveillance while they work, the NY Times reports.
While newer Amtrak trains have the necessary wiring for these cameras, none of them have yet been installed. The priority for installation will be the 70 Northeast Corridor trains. And it won't be a cheap endeavor: Amtrak chief executive Joseph Boardman told the Times that the process will cost $20,000 per train, which translates to $1.4 million total.
If all goes according to plan, installation will be complete by the end of this year.
Brandon Bostian of Queens, the 32-year-old engineer who steered Train 108 more than 50 miles per hour above the speed limit into a sharp curve in Philadelphia, has, according to his lawyer, "absolutely no recollection of the incident or anything unusual." The Times details how the National Transportation Safety Board might have reviewed camera footage from Train 108 in the wake of the crash:
Cameras focused on the engineer and the control panel would have shown whether he pushed the throttle forward, speeding up the train, and what he might have done to slow it down. Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board said the train’s emergency brakes had been engaged seconds before the crash, but slowed it to only 102 miles per hour, from 106.
Last fall, the MTA committed $34.6 million to install surveillance cameras in 2,064 Metro North and LIRR trains, intended to monitor both passengers and engineers. The installation process is likely to take three years. The decision came in the wake of the Spuyten Duyvil derailment, which killed four passengers. Afterwards, engineer William Rockefeller admitted to "nodding off."