>> Witnesses telling Reuters the train that smashed into a platform in New Jersey Thursday was moving at high speed into the station. No clear cause of the crash yet. But at least two other fatal accidents in recent years involving speeding trains putting renewed focus on a safety system called positive train control, or PTC.
PTC, the very first question put to the National Transportation Safety Board at a news conference after the crash, Thursday.>> The question is, will we be looking at positive train control? Absolutely, PTC has been one of our priorities. We know that it can prevent accidents, as whether is it involved in this accident, that is definitely one of the things that we will look at carefully.
>> PTC automatically applies the brakes if a train exceeds the speed limit in a section of track. A Metro North train that jumped the rails in the Bronx in 2013, killing 4 and injuring more than 60, was traveling at 82 miles an hour in a 30 mile per hour zone.
An Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia last year killed 8 and injured more than 200. No cause of the crash has been determined, but it occurred as the train rounded a tight curve going 107 miles per hour, twice the speed limit. Safety officials saying PTC might have been able to prevent these accidents.
Congress mandated consumer and freight trains install positive train controls back in 2008, but deadlines have been repeatedly pushed back. Amtrak installed PTC along the Philadelphia track last year. But none of the three commuter rail systems serving the New York metropolitan area, the most concentrated passenger train region in the US, have PTC.
And that includes New Jersey Transit, which operates the train that smashed into Hoboken Station Thursday.