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May 26, 2015

Amtrak to install video cameras in locomotive cabs

Announcement comes amid an on-going investigation into the cause of Amtrak 188 derailment

Amtrak will install video cameras inside its locomotive compartments to record the actions of train engineers, the company announced Tuesday.

The first cameras will be installed in 70 new Amtrak locomotives operating on all Northeast Regional and long-distance trains between Washington, New York and Boston, as well as Keystone Service between New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, by next spring, Joseph Boardman, the railroad's president and CEO, told The Associated Press in a telephone briefing Tuesday.

The company is developing a plan for the rest of its locomotive fleet of about 300 nationwide, including those that power Acela Express trains, but a timetable hasn’t yet been set.

The decision to install the cameras comes amid an on-going investigation into the cause of the derailment of Amtrak train 188 in Philadelphia on May 12, which killed eight people and injured about 200 passengers and crew members.

The engineer in that accident, Brendan Bostian, suffered a head injury and has told investigators he can't remember what happened to cause the Northeast Regional train 188 to accelerate to 106 miles per hour in the last minute before entering a curve where it derailed.

The train was equipped with a "black box" data recorder and an outward-facing camera focused on the track ahead, but neither of those devices reveals what was happening inside the cab, AP reports.

Read the full AP report here.