Government orders new safety measures

The Federal Railroad Administration said Saturday that it had instructed Amtrak to expand its use of a technology that would automatically stop excessively speeding trains, an existing system that could have prevented the derailment of an Amtrak train on Tuesday.

That train was traveling at 106 mph when it came off the tracks.

The technology, called automatic train control, measures the speed of a passing train and alerts the engineer if the train is moving too fast. If the engineer does not slow the train, it applies the brakes.

This system is in place on the southbound tracks near the accident site. A federal official said it was in place on just one track because southbound trains make a more dramatic deceleration on the curve.

Automatic train control is different from positive train control, a technology that Congress mandated be put in place throughout the U.S. by the end of this year. Congress is considering a delay until 2020.

The Railroad Administration on Saturday also ordered Amtrak to assess all the curves on the Northeast Corridor and directed the railroad to improve signage warning engineers about speed limits.

New York Times