February 01, 2016
The National Transportation Safety Board on Monday released its investigative docket of the Amtrak 188 crash in Philadelphia in May 2015. A final report is due in the spring.
One of the central questions in the investigation into the accident that killed eight and injured 200 is why did the train speed through the curve at Frankford Junction at twice the posted limit.
Only the engineer of that train, Brandon Bostian, 32, knows but he has told investigators that he hit his head in the accident and doesn't remember anything after ringing the train's bell as he passed through the North Philadelphia station about three miles before the curve.
What follows is the transcript of the NTSB's interview with Bostian:
Interview of: BRANDON BOSTIAN
30th Street Station, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Friday, May 15, 2015
• • •
(1: 45 p. m. )
MR. BUCHER: This is Dave Bucher, Rail Accident Investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board. And
this is the interview of Brandon Bostian, locomotive engineer for Train 188. It is May 15, 2015 and the time is 1:45. We' re located at the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia and the interview is relative to NTSB' s accident number DCA-15-MR-010.
And that' s the accident that occurred on 05/12/15 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Seated to my right I have?
MR. HINES: John Hines, System General Road Foreman for the Amtrak.
MR. BATES: William Bates, B-a-t-e-s. SMART, National Transportation Safety Team.
DR. McKAY: Mary Pat McKay. That' s M-a-r-y, P-a-t, M-c-K-a-y, Chief Medical Officer for the NTSB.
MR. FIELDS: Carl Fields, F-i-e-l-d-s, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.
MR. FLANIGON: Mike Flanigon with National Transportation Safety Board. Last name F-l-a-n-i-g-o-n.
MR. BULL: Mike Bull, B-u-l-l, Operating Practices with the FRA.
MR. GOGGIN: Robert Goggin, attorney for Brandon Bostian, G-o-g-g-i-n.
DR. JENNER: Stephen Jenner, J-e-n-n-e-r, with the NTSB.
INTERVIEW OF BRIAN BOSTIAN
BY MR. BUCHER:
Q. Okay. Brandon, Dave Bucher again. Like we said before, if you could just go back to the day of the accident --
Q. -- and just relate to us your day, from the time you got up and from right on through?
A. I will do the best I can.
A. Obviously, hard to sleep, that sort of thing.
I think we signed up at 1: 20 at New York, Penn Station.
Had a job briefing, went over our TSRBs and our Form D' s.
Operated Train 2121 to Washington.
The trip down to Washington was uneventful from New York to BWI Airport. And then after leaving BWI Airport, we had a technical problem with the train set. I think the fault code was something along the lines of speed data not available. And so we did a lot of troubleshooting but then took a delay and arrived in D. C. late.
And Washington, I had dinner in the food court with a friend who lives in Washington. After dinner, I signed back up in the crew base at 6: 30. We had another job briefing. I used the same copy of the NTSB – I' m sorry, the TSRBs that I had gotten in New York. I used the same copies of the TSRB from our return trip, went over Form D' s. I can't remember if there were any Form D' s either way. And then it was a -- that was a fairly uneventful trip. I don't remember anything particularly out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, the last memory I have on the way back is approaching and passing the platforms in North Philadelphia. I remember turning on the bell, and the next thing that I remember is when I came to my senses I was standing up in the locomotive cab after the accident.
I got my cell phone out of my bag. I turned it on. When it came on, while it was powering up, I think I got off the engine and walked towards some passengers that I heard. When the phone came on, I turned off airplane mode, and then when it reconnected with the network, I called 911 and I said that the -- that a train had derailed. And at the time, I did not know what my location.
The 911 operator said that it had been reported, and soon after that, I saw emergency personnel coming over some tracks. They told me to sit down while they tended to the passengers and then they pointed me towards the triage area. I went to triage and I got a green tag. They eventually put us in a police paddy wagon and took me to Albert Einstein Hospital and I got treatment there over the next few hours.
I' m trying to remember. I think that they said that I had a concussion and definitely stitches in my forehead, stitches on my left knee, a sprain on my right knee, and cuts and abrasions on both shins. They gave me a CAT scan. They were concerned about brain issues because they asked if I had lost consciousness and I said that I wasn' t sure. I didn' t know what happened. They took x-rays of my knee.
They officially discharged me from the hospital or from the ER, but I stayed on the same gurney while Amtrak management came and gave me the post-accident toxicology test.
I forgot. I should go back. While they were treating me on the gurney, there was a detective from [the] Philadelphia Police Department who asked for a statement and Philadelphia Police Department took a blood sample. And then going back to Amtrak, they took a blood sample and a urine sample.
And then Philadelphia Police transported me in a police SUV to a police station and I waited there for many hours. And I got in touch with Mr. Goggins [sic] and then he got me out of the police station and then I went home -- I went to a hotel. My family, Michael, had driven down from Boston, which is where he lives. My parents had flown from Memphis and arrived at the same time and we checked into a hotel.
Q. Okay, just -- Dave Bucher. And just a couple follow-up questions and then we' ll start around the room a little bit. And related to the train operations, when you left D.C. and for ... as long as you can remember, there were no mechanical issues with the train or airbrake problems?
A. I don' t remember having any issues with the airbrakes. The only issue that I found, and I did not write it up because I normally write up issues at the end of the trip -- the only issue is relatively minor. There was really excessive wind noise off the fireman' s side engineer window.
So leaving D.C., when you got above -- when I got above, you know, 70 or so, it got really loud and so I tried to make sure that the locking mechanism was fully secured. But I noticed that there was a lot of -- I don' t know what you would call it, but a lot of, like, almost like dried black tar around the frame of the window, like they had tried to fix it. But it was a brand new locomotive, and so -- like I said, minor issue, but that' s about the only thing I can recall.
Q. Okay. There were no problems with the operation of the locomotive otherwise?
A. There' s nothing that really sticks out in my head. Obviously, the -- all of our engines have minor issues.
Q. And do you remember -- and I' m testing you a little bit here. Between leaving Philadelphia and North Philadelphia, do you remember passing any other trains in either direction?
A. Actually, I should've mentioned that earlier. I have one significant event was that a SEPTA train had a problem. They called a dispatcher. The windshield had been broken and busted out and they put the train in emergency and they were debating as to whether or not they wanted medical attention. I radioed them. I think they were around a curve. It must've been the curve between Mantua and Lehigh. They -- around the far side of the curve. I couldn't see their marker lights, but I figured they were on the other side. So I sent them a radio message or whatnot just telling them that I was coming up on 2 --
A. -- and they didn't have protection.
A. I think that an Amtrak train passed going the other way.
A. Or it may [have] been SEPTA.
Q. And that was going the opposite direction? There was also an opposite direction train?
A. I think that there was an opposite direction train.
Q. Okay. Thank you.
A. If I remember right.
Q. Okay. I'm going to pass off to my right.
BY MR. HINES:
Q. Hi, Brandon. John Hines here. Brandon, how long have you been working on this particular job?
A. Well, they just changed all of the schedules recently.
I think I've -- well, one I got bumped. I took the 5 days. Went on another, got bumped, took the 5 days again. Maybe a week or three. I' d have to look at a calendar. I don' t think it' s more than 3 weeks and it was not less than one week. But I don' t remember specifically. It was relatively new.
Q. Okay. No further questions.
MR. BATES: William Bates. No questions.
DR. McKAY: I don't have anything now.
MR. FIELDS: Carl Fields, BLET. No questions, Brandon.
BY MR. FLANIGON:
Q. Mike Flanigon. Was this a regular run for you?
Q. So 5 days a week; 6 days a week?
A. Five days a week.
Q. Five days a week? And where were you in that work cycle?
A. Last day of the week.
Q. Last day of the --
A. Right. Wednesday and Thursday are the days off.
Q. And so you start in New York? What time do you go on duty typically?
A. 1: 20, I think.
Q. 1: 20 in the afternoon?
Q. Go to Washington. Have how much time off typically?
A. If the train's on time, I think that you have about roughly 90 minutes before -- I think. I'd have to look at my calendar for the exact times. I think my train going down was about a half hour late, so we had about an hour.
Q. About an hour, okay.
A. I think.
Q. You mentioned the wind noise. And that was on the fireman's side?
A. I'm sorry, did I say fireman's side? I meant engineer's side.
Q. Engineer's side?
A. I'm so sorry.
A. Engineer' s side.
Q. So during the trip this night, was your window closed or open a crack or --
A. For a while, I tried to crack it open and see if it would decrease the noise. I think I eventually came to the realization that it was better closed, if I recall correctly.
Q. So leaving Philadelphia you're closed, as far as you can recall, or open?
A. I can't say for certain, but I think I remember it was closed.
Q. Okay. Do you recall any -- out of Philadelphia, anything about rocks being thrown at you?
A. I don't remember any rocks.
A. The SEPTA train mentioned that and I was concerned.
A. So I probably closed the window even if it was open --
A. -- when I heard that.
Q. Understood. And this was one of the newer locomotives. Had you worked with those locomotives frequently?
A. The job that I was on, I was on the job for probably about 9 months or so, that worked almost exclusively high-speed train sets. So I very rarely operated the new motors with that job. And then I -- the job I bumped onto, and they rearranged that train. I think that was Train 198. It would've been a high-speed down, I think, and Train 198 back. 198 was typically an AM-7. But --
Q. So you've worked --
A. But --
Q. -- you know, rough order magnitude, a dozen, two dozen? How many times?
A. Probably two dozen-ish, somewhere there, I would say, over the course of the year.
Q. And you feel like you were familiar with that equipment, operating it?
A. I think it takes a long time to be really familiar, but I felt comfortable with it.
Q. Do you recall any conversation with your crew dispatcher in Washington? Did you have any kind of -- either a train dispatcher, crew dispatcher?
A. I think that the employee behind the desk in the crew base is called a crew dispatcher, and I'm friendly with her. I'm sure I said hi. I don't remember much else.
Q. Okay. Let's see. Oh --
A. But just to be clear, when I say that, I mean I -- that does not mean that I called crew management services in Delaware. I did not call them.
Q. Okay. This would've been like a local --
A. It' s a confusing title. Yeah.
Q. -- a local person?
A. I don't know why they call them a crew dispatcher, but --
Q. Last question. After the derailment, and you talked about the cellphone, having it out, did someone ask you to borrow your cellphone?
A. Yes, a passenger did. And then, now that you mention that, she borrowed the phone and then somebody called back on the phone while I was sitting in triage, and I happened to recognized that she was sitting a few feet away and I passed the phone along.
That also reminds me, while I was sitting on the triage area, that an Amtrak employee came by named Josh, I think, and talked to me briefly.
Q. Okay. That's all. Thanks.
BY MR. BULL
Q. Mike Bull, FRA. I just wanted to go back to when you were in D. C., you said you had dinner with a friend in the food court. And that was -- how much prior to reporting for duty was that? What time was that?
A. I only had about an hour off, so that entire hour was at the food court.
Q. Okay. And this friend is not a railroad employee?
A. That' s right.
Q. Okay. The only other question I had was I think you stated your phone was in your backpack?
Q. And you were able to get to that relatively easy?
A. I don' t remember how I got the phone.
Q. You just -- okay.
A. But I got the phone somehow.
Q. Okay. Good. Thank you. That' s all.
MR. GOGGIN: I have no questions.
BY DR. JENNER:
Q. This is Steve Jenner with the NTSB. You' re doing great. Do you need a break or anything?
A. I mean, right now I' m feeling okay.
A. Actually groggy, but I don' t know if a break at this point would help.
Q. Okay. I' m just going to jump around a bit for some clarification.
Q. And I' ll apologize up front if it' s redundant, but I just want to make sure we got it right. I was interested in your experience hearing about the SEPTA train and rocks or something happening with that train. And so, if we can just go back and if you recall where you were when you first heard about this and what you recall that the events were?
A. I just remember I think I was at about Mantua and they just called and they said something about a windshield being busted by rocks or something and that they were in emergency. They didn't say they were in emergency until three or four radio transmissions later. And there was a little bit of debate as to whether or not they needed medical attention.
Q. Okay. So --
A. And I think that they had that debate before I went by the train, if I remember right.
Q. Okay.A. I don' t think that there was -- I don' t remember any more radio conversation after I passed them.
Q. Okay. So I think you mentioned three to four transmissions. So this is back and forth with who?
A. The train engineer on SEPTA sounded very upset and it sounded like the dispatcher was trying to get clear information as to whether or not he needed medical help. And the train engineer was not being very clear and so they went back and forth.
Q. Okay. So three or four transmissions occurred and -- approximately?
A. Somewhere, I think.
Q. Okay. And then you passed -- you rode past SEPTA. Did you -- able to get a good look at the train?
Q. Okay. What was your reaction to this? Did you call -- did you make a radio transmission?
A. I called the -- made a radio transmission to the SEPTA train that said I was approaching on track 2. I think the words I usually use are hot rail main 2 or something like that. They never responded back, though.
Q. Okay. Do you recall being concerned for your own safety?
A. I was a little bit concerned for my safety. There's been so many times where I've had reports of rocks that I haven't seen anything, that I felt like it was unlikely that it would impact me. And I was really concerned for the SEPTA engineer. I had a co-worker in Oakland that had glass impact in his eye from hitting a tractor-trailer and I know how terrible that is.
Q. Okay. So you were concerned for SEPTA. I' m sorry, were you concerned for yourself, that this may also happen, possibly?
A. Slightly. But I figured there' s a good chance that they left. Whoever was throwing rocks and shooting probably had left. I wasn't, you know, super concerned, I don' t think.
Q. Okay. Going northbound -- I' m sorry, eastbound, in the direction that you were going, roughly speaking, how many times have you gone, traveled, you know, this same route in your career?
A. There' s, I mean, no way to tell. I' d have to get out a calculator.
A. When I -- I moved out here 3 years ago, so you figure roughly one round trip every day, 5 days a week. The first few months wouldn' t necessarily be five times a week, for training. Whatever the number works out to.
Q. So obviously you were qualified over the territory. What was your comfort level of the territory, and particularly Philadelphia area?
A. Pretty comfortable.
Q. All right. Okay, on a normal trip, if I can have you describe how you may normally handle your train going through that area? There are different speed restrictions and there are some curves, and if you can walk us through how you would normally handle it?
A. Right. Are you talking about leaving Philadelphia?
A. So leaving Philadelphia, you would -- we' ll just say you're on a normal track, like a 304 would normally be 30 miles an hour in the station.
A. That' s assuming your cab signals work, of course. If no cab signals, then you' re delayed in interlocking and it' s restricted speed. But assuming you have a good cab signal and the cab signal allows it, you' re good for 30. And then you come out and when you go past -- I forgot what they call the signal, but it was a signal mentioned in the timetable speed chart where the speed goes up to 40 for type B trains.
Q. Can I give you a chart and just have you walk us through it, if that -- does that help you or --
A. I don' t know if it would help me on that chart. Just, I mean, I know what the signal looks like.
Q. Okay. I' ll put this here --
A. And as far as the --
Q. -- if you want to refer to it.
Q. It' s up to you.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: This signal' s not on that map anyway.
DR. JENNER: Okay. Okay.
MR. BOSTIAN: So you have prototype B train and it would be 40 until you get to -- you go underneath the signal up on an overhead bridge, which is the home signal, I think, for Girard.
And that first curve is a 30 curve. You' re 30 all the way over to the river. Track speed goes up to 70 for B trains. They' re down to 60 at Lehigh through North Philadelphia. When you clear Clearfield, you' re good for 70 again, but there' s a 65 curve pretty close. And so it just depends on, I guess, how the train is performing whether I try to hit 70 or not.
After the 65 curve, there' s a straight-of-way. It leads you through Shore into a 50 curve for B trains. The track speed between the two is 80 for B trains. And then you have the 60 curve coming out of it, out of there. And then up to 110, B trains.
BY DR. JENNER:
Q. Okay. In particular -- thank you for that -- as you' reapproaching the 50 curve, you' re going at a higher speed and so you would have to reduce down to 50. How would you handle that? At what point would you begin braking?
A. On a typical day, I would normally begin just maybe a half train length or so before the Shore home signals, I think.
And then you' ve got the SEPTA el that, I don' t know, should be doing probably about 70 or 65 there, and then get down to 50 for the curve.
Q. Okay. When you' re operating at night, what additional challenges might you have, in terms of recognizing areas where you --
Q. -- can start braking and other operations?
A. With that curve, in particular, you cannot see the rail curve until you' re a car length or two away.
Q. Okay. So --
A. So traditionally I -- and like I said, I don' t remember what the circumstances were on that, on obviously the incident date. On prior days, I' ve sometimes had freight trains on -- I can' t remember what they call the freight track -- off to the far right. But if a train is coming towards you with their headlight even on dim, I mean, you don' t see the curve until you' re in the curve, basically.
Q. So are there any type of cues that you use if you can't see the --
A. The cues would be the Shore signal and the el bridge. And then there' s a signal box to the left. There' s sometimes you can see it and sometimes you can' t.
Q. Okay. Thank you. And operating this type of new equipment that you were on the day of the incident -- I' m sorry, did you -- if you answered this already, about how many times you may have operated this equipment before?
A. It' s hard to say. Not very much, because I spend about 9 months running primarily high-speed train sets. And then it was in the last few weeks when they changed the jobs, I think, in late March, I took two 5-day bumps. So take 2 weeks out of that, so it might be roughly a month where I was on a schedule that would occasionally see those engines.
Q. Okay. So that was just in the last -- since late March that you started operating that equipment?
A. Right. And then I -- and the time prior when I was on a prior job -- occasionally holidays, service disruptions, things like that, I would be put on other trains, and occasionally the other trains would have the new motor and most of the time they would have the AM-7.
Q. Okay. Did you receive any type of training for operating new equipment?
A. New equipment in general or this new --
Q. Well, this one in particular that' s --
A. There was a class in New York about -- I think I was in the class, I mean, a long time before I saw a train in service. And then there was a familiarization trip one way, from Sunnyside Yard to New York -- I forgot when that happened -- with the road foreman.
Q. Okay. So from D. C. to Philly, what was your comfort level operating this equipment?
Q. Okay, okay. Great. Thank you. I' m also interested in your, you know, overall training and background and your work and rest cycle. But what I think I' d like to do is just see if other people have questions first.
A. Is it okay if we take a break?
MR. BUCHER: Absolutely.
MR. BOSTIAN: Okay.
MR. BUCHER: Let' s take a break.
(Off the record. )
(On the record. )
MR. BUCHER: This is Dave Bucher and now we' re back.
BY MR. BUCHER:
Q. Okay. I have one follow-up question, Brandon, and it concerns just your experience with the new engine.
Q. We understand that it was sporadic; you would get one on this 188 job. Before you were assigned the 188 turn or position, did you operate the locomotive previously?
Q. Sporadically? Okay.
A. Very, very sporadically.
Q. Okay. All right. That' s the only question I have right now.
MR. HINES: No questions. John Hines.
MR. BATES: William Bates. No questions.
BY DR. McKAY:
Q. So again, it' s Mary Pat McKay and I' m the chief medical officer for the NTSB, so I' m going to ask some questions kind of how you were feeling in the day of the accident and a couple of days before that. Were you feeling well, unwell, had a cold, anything going on from a medical standpoint?
A. I think I felt -- I don' t remember feeling bad.
A. The only like that was, I was slightly hungry and it took a long time to get through it after this incident.
Q. Yeah. Okay.
A. But I -- I remember feeling hungry before.
Q. Are you a guy who regularly takes any medication?
Q. Is there any reason why might' ve been taking over-the-counter medicines or herbal or diet medicines in a few days before this happened?
A. I don' t remember taking any medication a few days before. If I did, it would' ve been ibuprofen or something like that for a headache, but I don' t remember.
Q. Okay. Okay. Anything particularly stressful going on in your life the last few weeks or months?
A. Not really. I mean, my weekends are always very busy. So just, like, scheduling out what I want to do on the weekend, I guess. But that' s a good problem to have.
Q. Agreed. Okay. And on the day, as you were going through the day itself, feeling any kind of weakness or nausea, sick in any way?
Q. You mentioned headaches a couple of times. Obviously, you have a pretty good reason to have a headache now.
Q. In fact, several.
Q. But is that something that' s a regular issue for you or has been?
A. No, I wouldn't say a regular headache issue.
Q. Okay. Okay. I think I' m good.
So -- you' ll ask about sleep and (indiscernible) ?
MR. BUCHER: Yeah.
MR. FIELDS: Carl Fields. No questions. Thank you.
BY MR. FLANIGON:
Q. Mike Flanigon. Just one kind of following up on Mary
Pat' s questions. Have you ever previously had any incident where you passed out or lost consciousness or blacked out?
A. I' m not aware of that, but I don' t know if -- by definition, you wouldn' t be aware. I' m not aware of that happening before.
Q. Okay. That' s all.
BY MR. BULL:
Q. Mike Bull. When we have accidents like this, we typically routinely ask people about their fatigue issues or possible fatigue issues. So I' d like to go back, like, a few daysprior to the accident and kind of get an idea of your sleep cycle and the type of sleep that you were getting, if it was good sleep, not so good sleep. So if we could start, like, on Saturday prior to -- do you remember? I mean, I understand if you don' t --
A. Yeah, I --
Q. -- because not many people do. But if you --
A. That' s the problem. I don' t remember thinking that there was an issue.
Q. Okay. Do you know what time you typically go to bed?
A. I would typically go to bed probably at about somewhere in the 2 to 4 a. m. range on this job.
Q. Okay. How is your sleep? Do you sleep soundly? Do you, like, just sort of -- do you get into the deep REM type sleep where you' re --
A. Well, obviously the last couple of nights --
Q. Obviously, yeah.
A. -- I have not slept.
Q. I understand.
A. In general, I haven't really noticed a problem with sleep. I' m pretty fortunate.
Q. You have not noticed a problem?
Q. Okay. You typically get, like, 7, 8 hours at a time?
A. I' d say 6 to 8.
Q. Okay. And that was typical from Saturday leading up to the Tuesday of the incident?
A. Like I said, I don' t remember anything atypical.
Q. Okay. Okay, that' s fine. Do you typically take naps --
Q. -- other than your sleep period? Okay.
A. I' m not good with naps.
Q. How about your alertness level on the day of the incident? Do you feel like you were fully alert or somewhere in between or kind of tired?
A. I don' t recall feeling tired.
Q. Okay. Okay, one other thing. How about how much time does it take you to commute to work --
Q. -- when you report to New York? Approximately.
A. I usually leave my house about an hour before I sign up.
Q. So driving time is less than an hour?
A. I take the subway.
Q. Subway? Less than an hour?
A. But it' s the MTA.
Q. Understood. Okay. And this is your regular assignment for how long prior to this?
A. Like I said, I just can't remember a specific time frame.
A. But I have my calendar.
Q. That' s fine. I think that' s about all I have right now for that. Thank you very much.
BY DR. JENNER:
Q. Okay. This is Steve Jenner. I want to backfill some of
the gaps there. What are your normal days off?
A. Wednesday and Thursday.
Q. Okay. So that' s your weekend, so to speak? Okay. So, I'm going to see what we can do about getting a little moredetails. So Friday you worked?
Q. And that would be from New York to D. C. , back to New York?
Q. Okay. Saturday, same trip. Okay. So what time would you report for duty on Saturday in New York?
A. I' m trying to remember because it' s different on different days of the week. On Saturday, I would' ve worked 2253. I don' t think that there' s a 4: 00. I think that' s a 3: 00, so I think I' d be 2: 20.
Q. 2: 20 p. m. ?
A. That' s right.
A. But I was new enough on this job I had to look at my calendar every day --
A. -- to see the sign-on time.
Q. So 2: 20 p. m. and then you' ll go to D. C. and make a return trip. And what time would you arrive back in New York?
A. And this is Saturday?
Q. This is Saturday.
A. Saturday there' s a 90, Train 90 coming back. We usually get in about 11: 00 or midnight or so.
Q. Okay. And do you pretty quickly head for home after that? And is that about an hour trip to get home?
A. It can take up to -- it can be a long trip home because MTA does construction work at night and when you get in at 11, you' re right in the thick of it.
A. So I usually get home, I think, about 1.
Q. Arrive 1 a. m. at home.
A. If 90 is close to on time. I can' t remember if it was on time last weekend.
Q. That' s fine. So what do you do once you get home? Now it' s 1 a. m. technically Sunday morning, so Saturday night/Sunday morning.
Q. Do you recall what you would do? Do you eat something? Do you go to bed? Do you unwind?
A. I unwind --
A. -- for a hour or three. I try not to eat any -- well, I don't eat anything because I feel like I' m hungry in the morning either way, so --
Q. Okay. So unwind for 1 to 3 hours and then when do you sleep?
A. After that.
Q. So maybe 2 to 4 a. m. you fall asleep?
Q. Okay. And how long would you sleep to?
A. I usually wake up about 3 to -- 2 to 3 hours before signup time.
A. So I think that' s around -- I try to go for at least 6.
Q. So can you help me out with times?
A. So probably, like, I' d say 10: 00 or 11: 00 in the morning.
A. The day of the week.
Q. Okay. So 10 to 11 a. m. Sunday morning. So what will you do after you wake up?
A. I usually try to give myself about an hour to get ready to go to work and then I go to work.
Q. And so you would depart Sunday for work about what time?
A. Saturday and Sunday are the same schedule. What time did we figure out I signed out --
Q. For Saturday, about --
A. -- Saturday is --
Q. -- 2: 20 p. m. is when you' re on duty.
Q. So about 1: 20 p. m. --
A. 1: 20.
Q. -- you would depart for work? Okay. Okay. So similar routine as Sunday?
A. At work, yeah.
Q. Yeah. Okay. So you would arrive back to New York around 1 a. m.?
A. Um-hum. Back to my house.
Q. Back to your house about 1 a. m. ? Okay. Okay, and what would your routine -- similar routine there? Unwind, you know, for an hour or three and then sleep for -- for how many hour might you sleep?
A. The goal is usually 6.
Q. Okay. When you sleep 6 hours, how do you typically feel waking up? Is that what your body needs? Or do you need -- you tell me.
A. I usually feel pretty good.
A. When I say goal, what I really mean is minimum. If I sleep less than 6 hours, then I feel tired.
Q. Okay. So now, Tuesday -- so Monday you -- what is your schedule for Monday, if you recall?
A. It' s the -- it' s the same as Tuesday.
Q. Okay. Do you recall Monday night what time you would arrive back to your -- well, back to New York?
A. Mondays I work Train 198. It gets in at, like, 10: 30 or so, I think.
A. The subway runs better.
Q. So maybe an hour trip to get home --
A. Yeah, 11: 30.
Q. Okay. Okay, so this is a little earlier than the previous nights. So what happens at 11: 30? What do you do?
A. Pretty much the same routine.
A. My routine is typically driven by the signup time the next day.
Q. Okay. So have you arriving back home 11: 30, and what time would you have fallen asleep Monday night or Tuesday morning, early Tuesday morning?
A. Tuesday my signup would be 2: 20, I think. No, 1: 20.
And I try to get up about 3 hours in advance, so that would be
10: 20 wake-up.
A. I' ll push that back to 11: 20 if I stay up too late.
A. And like I said, my goal is to get a good 6 hours.
Q. Okay. Are you usually successful getting 6 hours?
A. I' d say most of the time.
Q. Okay, good. Great. Thanks. That' s -- you did great there. Thank you.
A. Okay. That' s a lot of thinking.
Q. Yeah, yeah. Some people just give up early. So you stuck to it, so thank you. This is not supposed to be a trick question, but do you know if you, you know, snore at night?
A. I don' t know.
Q. Okay. Have you ever been told by someone who you live with --
Q. -- that you snore? Okay. Have you ever been diagnosed with any sleep disorder?
Q. You know, like insomnia or sleep apnea or have you ever been to a sleep clinic or anything like that?
Q. Okay. So overall, and just to follow up on the questions, your overall health is good?
A. Well, not right now.
Q. Yeah. I' m sorry. Prior to the incident.
A. Yeah, it' s good.
Q. Okay. I don' t see you wearing any glasses. Do you wear contacts?
A. I recently got a Lasik surgery.
Q. Okay. So do you still need glasses for reading --
A. I don' t need glasses.
Q. -- or anything like that? Okay. Is your hearing normal? Are there any requirements for -- any restrictions?
A. No. There' s no restrictions on hearing.
Q. Okay. When did you get Lasik?
Q. Okay. How did that go for you?
Q. Okay. No problems post-surgery?
Q. Okay. Okay. I think those are my questions so --
Q. -- for now. Thank you.
MR. BUCHER: Dave Bucher. I don' t have anything else.
BY MR. HINES:
Q. John Hines. One question. In some locations along the Northeast Corridor and the overhead catenary we have speed restriction signs. Do you know if there are speed restriction signs coming or approaching Shore in a eastbound direction?
A. I don' t know.
Q. No further questions.
MR. BATES: William Bates. No questions.
DR. McKAY: Mary Pat McKay. No further questions.
MR. FIELDS: Carl Fields, BLET. No questions. Thank you.
MR. FLANIGON: I have none. None for me.
DR. JENNER: None for me either. Thank you.
MR. BOSTIAN: Can I add about the speed restriction signs?
MR. BUCHER: Absolutely. Go ahead.
MR. BOSTIAN: In my work habits, I don' t really look for the speed restriction signs because a lot of times they' re either missing or they' re the wrong train type or they' re wrong. So that' s why I don' t recall if they have a speed restriction sign for that curve.
BY DR. JENNER:
Q. One thing we didn' t --
DR. JENNER: I' m sorry, do you have anything to -- can I ask --
BY DR. JENNER:
Q. Okay. One thing we didn' t ask you, just about your injuries. Can you describe your injuries as a result of the accident?
A. I got stitches in my forehead, a sprain on my right knee, a concussion, which leads to headaches and nausea -- well, it' s hard to eat right now. I feel like I' m always hungry but never want to eat. And then I' ve got stitches in my left knee and then cuts and scrapes on my shins.
Q. Okay. You were able to give a lot of good detail, I think, on events leading up to moments before the accident. How do you think your memory is recovering?
A. I don' t know. It' s really hard to say. I don' t know what the timeline should be.
Q. Right. Do you feel that you' re remembering a few details in the last couple days? Do you feel any improvement coming on?
A. No. I have --
Q. I don' t think I have anything else.
MR. BUCHER: Anyone else?
BY DR. McKAY:
Q. Sorry. It' s Mary Pat McKay again. Are you taking medicine now? I mean, you look like you' re really, like you' re hurting.
A. They gave me prescription ibuprofen, but just getting up and in and out of chairs and hitting the thresholds and stuff on the wheelchair is a long way from the car.
DR. JENNER: Do you need a physician name, if -- are you being -- do you have --
BY DR. McKAY:
Q. I mean, yeah, if you' re willing to give it to us, do you have a primary care physician?
A. I do. I don' t remember his name off the top of my head. He' s in Rego Park.
Q. Okay. Maybe that' s something that we could -- you could get for me later.
BY MR. FLANIGON:
Q. What was the city?
A. Rego Park, New York.
Q. Rigo, R-i-g-o?
A. No. R-e-g-o.
A. Two words: Rego Park.
MR. FLANIGON: I have one more, Steve.
BY MR. FLANIGON:
Q. When you described -- I think it was Steve asking what you typically do coming out of Philadelphia, described some gradually increasing speeds and a curve and then I -- if I' m remembering right, you come into a stretch that' s 80-mile-an-hour track prior to this 50-mile-an-hour curve. With the type of locomotive you were on, on the day of the accident, typically what throttle position would you use to go from the lower speed up to the 80 miles an hour? Will that be the -- and I understand that these locomotives, they don' t have the notches, the indents --
Q. -- like some of the older locomotives. But just sort of --
Q. -- where would you put the throttle typically?
A. For any sort of speed increase, my practice is to -- I gradually increase the throttle. I don' t slam it all the way open when I' m going slow. But if you' re going kind of fast, it' s okay to slam it open. But I typically accelerate in full throttle and then back off as I approach the maximum speed.
Q. Okay. And as we' ve made you kind of walk through the sequence of events and thinking about, well, just generally the territory and the equipment and the night of the accident, is any more coming back to you --
A. No, not really.
Q. -- approaching that curve?
A. I wish that there was.
Q. That' s all I have.
BY MR. BUCHER:
Q. Brandon, Dave Bucher, and I have one more question, changing gears a little bit. And the question' s about the ACSES train control system, the civil speed enforcement --
Q. -- and we understand that it' s not in use at all locations between D. C. and New York, but there are a few locations where it is in effect.
Q. Could you just take a minute and give us your -- give us a little bit of your experience operating through those areas with it and then without it?
A. I' m not quite sure, like, what you' re asking.
Q. Well, if you -- I understand it's south of Philadelphia, there' s a section between Perryville and a little bit north and then there aren't any more for a while until you get north of the accident area. But what is your expectation when you operate a train through there and operate through that section of ACSES and then section without it? How do you operate the train?
A. The operation is pretty similar except for there's a lot of beeping because every time you hit a curve it beeps. The display will show you the track speed. The goal is for ACSES not to take over because we're all qualified on the territory, but you know that it will apply the brakes or it' ll warn you if you come close to exceeding the speed.
Q. Okay. Okay, that' s fine.
A. I don't know what else to say.
DR. JENNER: Yeah. I do --
BY DR. JENNER:
Q. Okay. Just some very basic questions about your background in terms of when you started working in the rail industry.
Q. If you can just walk us through when and where and what positions you held?
A. Right. My first railroad job was in college. I worked for 2 years at Columbia Terminal Railroad in Columbia, Missouri.
Q. And when was this? What years?
A. I graduated in '06, I think. I left the Columbia Terminal a year before graduation, so make it through '05. And then I started there -- I worked there for 2 years, so that would be probably '03 to '05.
Q. Okay. And in what capacity?
A. I was an office assistant.
A. And then over one of the summers, I was a brakeman.
Q. The summer of?
A. Would've been the middle summer, so '04.
Q. Okay. I'm sorry, in what -- as a?
Q. Okay. Okay, so that's ' 04, ' 05.
A. Right. And then I started at Amtrak in 2006 as a train conductor, assistant conductor. I worked out of St. Louis, Missouri. In 2008, I moved to San Francisco, California.
A. I worked on Caltrain service. In 2009, I think, I went to engine school. And then Caltrain cut service and they had me go to Oakland for student engineer training.
Q. Is this still 2009?
A. And I was a student engineer in Oakland through 2010. In 2011, a job opened up on Caltrain and I bid into it. In 2012 --
Q. I'm sorry. 2011, were you a qualified engineer at that point?
Q. Okay. And what year did you get your -- date was your qualification?
A. And then in 2012, we lost the Caltrain contract and I moved to New York and spent about a year qualifying.
Q. Now you're already a qualified engineer. Are you now, like, becoming familiar with the territories you're operating over? Or what was that process --
Q. -- for the year?
A. I'm not sure what you would officially call it, but I think of it as being a promoted engineer, qualifying on a new territory and equipment.
Q. Okay. So that was 2012 --
A. Through ' 13. And then I marked up and worked out here since then.
Q. So work here since 2013?
A. In New York, yes.
Q. How, you know, in the most -- how would you conceptualize your training overall? Were you happy with the type of training and simulation and tests and things like that?
A. I think that there are a lot of ways the training could've been better, but I feel fully qualified to operate trains.
Q. Okay. If I could get you to elaborate how you think it would be better?
A. That's kind of a vague thing, I guess. I mean just maybe more simulator training.
Q. More --
A. Simulator --
Q. -- simulator training?
A. -- focused.
Q. And what would more simulator training, how would that help you? In what areas?
A. Right. I don't know. Honestly, it' s hard to talk about with my head thing going on.
A. I have -- there' s a lot of thoughts that I have on it, but it's kind of hard to, like, come up with a summary --
Q. Okay. That's fine.
A. -- without being here all day. Is it okay if we don't go into that?
Q. That would be fine. Would it be okay if maybe in the future, if you' re comfortable, talking about it?
A. I'd be open to that.
Q. Okay. Great. You don't have to answer now, but sometimes we end this process with thoughts you may have to -- you know, as you' ve heard earlier, we' re interested in making the industry safer. And if, based on your experiences before and since, if you have thoughts that you can either share now or at a later time about if there' s --
Q. -- additional training of equipment or procedures --
Q. -- that you think would make the industry safer, then we' d really like to hear from you about that.
A. That would be -- concerns of general safety for the industry as a whole, that would probably be better left to another time.
Q. That sounds fine.
A. As far as this incident goes, I really wish I could remember. I can' t even say, because I don' t really know what happened.
Q. Okay. Well, thank you for giving this thought.
MR. BUCHER: Dave Bucher. Going around again, but I have no more questions.
MR. HINES: John Hines. No questions.
MR. BATES: William Bates. No questions.
DR. McKAY: Mary Pat McKay. No questions.
MR. FIELDS: Carl Fields. No questions.
MR. FLANIGON: None.
MR. BULL: Mike Bull. No questions.
MR. BUCHER: Okay. That concludes our interview with Mr. Bostian. Thank you.
(Whereupon, the interview was concluded.)
This is to certify that the attached proceeding before the NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD IN THE MATTER OF: AMTRAK TRAIN 188 DERAILMENT NEAR PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA
MAY 12, 2015
Interview of Brandon Bostian
DOCKET NUMBER: DCA-15-MR-010
PLACE: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DATE: May 15, 2015, was held according to the record, and that this is the original, complete, true and accurate transcript which has been transcribed to the best of my skill and ability.
Karen A. Stockhausen