Boston: Nightmare on The Night Owl

Nightmare on The Night Owl

A trainee engineer making his first passenger run was at the controls of the Amtrak Night Owl as it approached Boston's Back Bay Station at the morning rush hour. Tripping signals about a mile from a curve, the train, carrying roughly 200 people, was moving at 91.8 m.p.h. When the overnighter from Washington reached the curve, it should have slowed down to 30 m.p.h. The trainee, Richard Abramson, 41, told investigators that he hit the brakes three times before the curve, but they failed to slow the 120-ton locomotive. Willis Copeland, a veteran engineer supervising Abramson, tried the emergency brakes. Too...

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