“60 Minutes” segment details fatal 2018 Cayce, S.C., accident

Published: March 4, 2019

One of two crew members of the CSX freight train that was struck by the Amtrak Silver Star on Feb. 4, 2018, recounted the accident in a segment for CBS’s “60 Minutes” program that was broadcast Sunday night.

SMART Transportation Division Local 30 member Michael Cella, 36, the conductor on the Amtrak train, and engineer Michael Kempf, a former TD member, were killed in the accident near Cayce, S.C., that also injured 100 passengers.

While the accident investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has not been finalized, a misaligned switch has been widely reported as the cause of the collision, which occurred in dark territory.

Engineer Mark James told “60 Minutes” that he has experienced PTSD ever since the accident.

“This is something I’ll never, ever get over,” he told correspondent Lesley Stahl.

The segment also detailed features of Positive Train Control (PTC) technology. Stahl was shown how PTC operates by a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) employee.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt, also interviewed in the segment, criticized the Federal Railroad Administration and industry for the slow implementation of PTC.

“The regulator needs to step up to the plate and do their job and regulate,” he said.

The entire segment is viewable via this link.