Steve Forbes describes being on derailed Amtrak train

Forbes Media Chairman Steve Forbes on being a passenger on the Amtrak train that derailed outside of Philadelphia and the 2016 presidential race.

Steve Forbes Gives First Hand Account of Deadly Amtrak Derailment

By Transportation

Investigators are looking into the cause of the derailment of an Amtrak train traveling from New York to Savannah, Georgia that killed two people. 

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Forbes Media Chairman Steve Forbes was traveling on that train and recounted his experiences.

“Our prayers go out to the families of those two workers who were killed and to those who were injured.” Forbes told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.

Forbes described what he felt when the derailment occurred.

“Fortunately I was in the last car of the train and we were between Philadelphia and Wilmington, going into Wilmington, and then suddenly you felt a sudden halt.  It was like somebody in a car hitting the breaks, easing up and then hitting the breaks, but in a matter of seconds.  And so you knew this was not a normal slowdown.  So it came to a screeching halt, if you had coffee, the coffee was in the air, cups were flying but other than that we weren’t impacted.”  said Forbes.

He continued, “There was initially the smell of rubber like the brakes were burning but that went away so we knew there was not a fire, so we just decided to sit there until we were told what to do.  We weren’t going to get off at the potential live track next to us.  First responders came in about a half an hour and said ‘is anyone injured?’  They were obviously working on the first two cars where you did have those injuries.”

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When Maria asked whether he knew the train had derailed, Forbes responded, “In our car, no, we were on the track, you felt a little tilt, but nothing would suggest you were about to fall over or anything.”

Forbes weighed in on reports Amtrak had installed early warning systems to prevent potential crashes.

“They apparently had done so, so you don’t get trains crashing into each other head on, but there was apparently no system for the construction workers to talk to somebody who could say a train is coming in X minutes, get off the track.” Forbes said.

Amtrak has been under scrutiny for safety measures following the crash last year of a Northeast Regional train that killed six people and injured over 100 passengers.  

As for the first responders on the scene, Forbes had high praise.

“Other than the lack of information the first responders were terrific.  When they came on after about a half hour and asked who was hurt.  Then about twenty minutes later they took us off the train and there were plenty of them there helping you get down, you know we weren’t Olympic athletes and we didn’t have the normal platform there.”  Forbes continued, “So, the first responders were excellent.”

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