Date: May 13, 2015
Guest: Robert Sumwalt, Paul Cheung, Michael Nutter, Steve Israel
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Tragedy in Philadelphia.
This is HARDBALL.
I`m Chris Matthews in Philadelphia, at the site of last night`s
horrific train derailment.
And here`s what we know at this hour. At least seven people were
killed and 200 others were injured when a Northeast regional train jumped
the tracks shortly after it left Philadelphia`s 30th Street station. The
train was rounding a sharp curve, and many of the cars rolled over.
According to the NTSB, the train was going way over the speed limit just
before the crash.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maximum authorized speed through this curve was 50
miles per hour. When the engineer-induced brake application was applied,
the train was traveling at approximately 106 miles per hour.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: There were 238 passengers and five crew members on board,
and some of them used their phones to capture amazing scenes of chaos and
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, man!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got you, OK? OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep crawling, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here. Hold on. Here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go, go, go!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should I just get out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Help me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, authorities have released some of the initial
emergency radio transmissions. Let`s listen to those.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Notify Amtrak to shut down the entire Northeast
corridor. We have a major event here. We have people on the track and a
couple of cars overturned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to classify this as a mass casualty
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: A major event. And here`s what the train looks like right
now, cars turned over, some mangled beyond recognition. Philadelphia mayor
Michael Nutter called it an absolute disastrous mess and said he`s never
seen anything like it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER (D), PHILADELPHIA: To see it in the daytime is
almost indescribable. It is painful. And it is amazing, it is incredible
that so many people walked away from that scene last night. I saw people
on the street behind us walking off of that train. And I don`t know how
that happened but for the grace of God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Robert Sumwalt is a member of the National Transportation
Safety Board, which is investigating the incident right now.
Robert, I think everybody gets on that train. I ride it all the time,
everybody does, up and down the Northeast corridor. And we don`t pray
before we get on that train. We don`t think it`s dangerous. How did this
ROBERT SUMWALT, NTSB BOARD MEMBER: Well, we certainly want to find
out why it did happen, Chris. And it`s a tragedy, and our whole objective
for being here is to find out not only what happened by why it happened so
that we can keep it from happening again.
MATTHEWS: Well, what you do know is that this train was going at 106
miles an hour. Can that track at that curve in Philadelphia, Northeast
Philly, handle that kind of speed?
SUMWALT: Well, apparently not.
MATTHEWS: Well, has it happened before? Do we know if this was a
normal speeding situation, or is this a rare occurrence?
SUMWALT: Well, we`re going to go back and look at everything. We`re
going to be looking at data on this particular train and possibly even
other Amtrak trains to find out if this is a normal event. The speed
limit, as you pointed out, for that section of track, for that curve is 50
miles an hour. And the engineers operate. They know what their speed
limits are. We want to find out exactly what...
MATTHEWS: What other job does an engineer have than to regulate the
speed? I don`t know how you can get it wrong. That`s the only job they
have, isn`t it, to make sure the train`s going at the right speed?
SUMWALT: It`s certainly an important part of their job.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about why -- I know this is speculative, but
we know there`s evidence because you reported in that tape. The guy jammed
on the brakes. Why would he jam on the brakes? Would he know he`d
exceeded the speed and he wasn`t conscious of it, then he was conscious of
it, and then he jammed on the brakes, because you don`t jam on the brakes
once you`re derailed. That wouldn`t do any good.
SUMWALT: No, and we hope to interview the engineer. That`s certainly
a priority for us is to find out what was going on in his mind. We also
want to look at the mechanical condition of the train. We want to look at
the signal system.
MATTHEWS: How about the track?
SUMWALT: Well, we`ll be looking at the track, as well.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this. I ride it all the time. And
everybody who rides Amtrak or Acela, the more expensive line, knows that
there`s rock-and-roll at some points. The train jumps back and forth, left
and right. You can hardly stand up on the train at certain times. You
have to hang on really hard sometimes, OK?
What is causing that? Is it the quick turns and the right of way? Is
it -- what is it that makes that train jerk crazily around when you`re
riding it from D.C. to New York?
MATTHEWS: It always does! Especially, there are certain parts of
Baltimore where it`s really the Wild West. It`s like a buckboard.
SUMWALT: Well, we`re...
MATTHEWS: What`s going on?
SUMWALT: We`re really here to look at this particular accident...
MATTHEWS: I know!
SUMWALT: ... and try and understand that...
MATTHEWS: But I`m trying to be a little -- I don`t want to be too
sympathetic to the engineer, but it looks to me like he`s got a hell of a -
- an engineer has a hell of a route to follow every day. It`s dangerous.
SUMWALT: Well, I wouldn`t say it`s dangerous. Risk can be managed
and people manage risk very well every day. This has not happened on this
particular case in this particular point previously. So it can`t be
dangerous because it doesn`t happen all the time.
But we want to find out what was different about this day that caused
that train to be going 106 miles an hour in a speed zone that was only 50
miles an hour.
MATTHEWS: What`s the margin on a train and rails? Is there any way
to say that there`s always going to be a give, like a race car driver knows
there`s a certain margin of danger that he`s willing to accept? Is there a
certain margin that you can go over the speed limit? Say it`s supposed to
be 50, (INAUDIBLE) had been going 70. But he went 106. It seems like that
would be well beyond any kind of margin.
SUMWALT: Yes, train engineers are tested periodically and randomly.
They don`t even know they`re being tested. Sometimes there are speed guns,
like highway patrol officers. They`re tested periodically to make sure
they`re complying with the speeds. So it would be very unusual to find one
intentionally exceeding the speed limit.
MATTHEWS: Do you think we should have a PTC on these trains,
something that`d be -- to control like a deadman`s switch to make sure they
don`t go over the speed limit?
SUMWALT: Not only do I think that, but the Congress has mandated
positive train control...
MATTHEWS: But they`re not on it.
MATTHEWS: It`s not there!
SUMWALT: It`s supposed to be installed by the end of this year.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you, Robert.
SUMWALT: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: We`ll be looking to see your results. Thank you so much,
Robert Sumwalt of the NTSB.
I`m joined right now by NBC`s Stephanie Gosk outside Temple University
Hospital. Stephanie, thank you. You know what`s going on there. Tell us.
STEPHANIE GOSK, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris. Well, we got an
update here earlier today, and eight of the ten critical passengers that
remain are here at this hospital. But doctors said that their situation at
the moment does not -- is not life-threatening. We don`t know about the
other two critical patients.
You`ll remember that earlier today, the death toll went from six to
seven, and that seventh death took place here at this hospital. It was Jim
Gaines, who arrived with such severe chest injuries that they couldn`t
And to a lesser extent, those kinds of breaks and chest injuries and
broken bones are what doctors all around this city have been dealing with
when you talk about the 140 people who were injured in this incident. Just
the force of flying out of those seats with all of those cars, that broken
bones is what they`ve been dealing with. They still, they say, have a
number of surgeries that they need to perform here.
We`re also learning more about the people who were killed. And we
know that, for instance, a second-year midshipman, a young man who was on
his way home to his parents -- he was killed, as well as a businessman, a
man who worked for the Associated Press, a father who also was on his way
home to his kids in New Jersey. He was just one stop away from getting off
of the train, and he was killed, as well.
We will continue to hear those stories, those sad stories, as the days
progress -- Chris.
MATTHEWS: Stephanie, 200 injuries all at once, all inflicted at once
in one tragic event. And then you have all the mortalities there. How do
the hospitals arrange that? How do they divide up the patients in an
GOSK: Well, what the doctors say is that they practice these
situations, and they believe that they handled it as well as you can. I
mean, in any situation, you`re going to have unexpected circumstances.
This did happen at night. There were a lot of patients. Under any
circumstance, that`s going to be a challenge for a health system, certainly
a challenge for any city.
But they handled it, and what they say is that they`re happy with --
especially here at Temple University -- how things went -- Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Stephanie Gosk, at Temple University
Hospital. It looks like seven dead so far. It looks good for the others.
I`m joined right now by Paul Cheung. He`s director of digital news
production for the Associated Press. He was on the train, number 188, last
night when it crashed.
Paul, thank you. Give us your account -- I`m sure it`s going to live
with you forever -- your account of what happened riding on that train when
PAUL CHEUNG, ASSOCIATED PRESS, PASSENGER: You know, when I was on
that train, I was just minding my own business, playing with my iPhone,
streaming my Netflix. And suddenly, you know, you could hear as if someone
had just slammed the brakes.
And everything turned dark, and you could feel a momentum pulling you
to the right. And people were screaming. And you could get a sense of the
-- you know, people`s luggage and things just kind of flying all over the
place. And in a flash second, everything stops, in total darkness. I
could feel the train was tilted a little bit to the right. And people were
just try to compose themself, gather their belongings. And I could hear a
voice behind me saying that, You need to get out now. You need to get out
from the back.
And you know, I just grabbed my stuff, make sure that everyone is OK.
I was basically asking people, you know, Whose cell phone is this? And
someone asked, you know, for a flashlight to find a cell phone. But at
that moment, I smell smoke in the car, and that`s when I know I really need
to get out.
So once I get out, that`s when I realize how -- the magnitude of this
disaster. It`s almost like a movie scene, but except it`s in real life.
You know, part of the train were flip over to the side. I could see people
crawling out from the emergency window toward the top.
And part of the train is as if someone had just ripped the train apart
and mangled it together in pieces. You could see debris and chairs just
everywhere. And even in complete darkness, you could see, you know, how
wide a territory it spread.
Meanwhile, there`s a couple dozen of passengers just a little bit
confused and shock. And we could hear people saying that, Get off the
track, get off the track, you know, There`s live wires. And you just don`t
know what will happen next. We don`t know if a train is coming from the
opposite direction or what`s coming up next until the first responder came.
And when they came, they really settle all the passenger into a
different area and start performing triage, asking people questions and
tagging the different passengers with, you know, almost like a big color
card, with one, two and three, red, yellow and green. I guess that`s based
on the severity of the injury.
And you know, at that point, you know, I was asking where are people
going. Some people went to Aria (ph) Rockford (ph). I myself went to
Jefferson Hospital. You know, they just recommended everyone to take an X-
ray and get tetanus shots.
MATTHEWS: What was the -- what was the panic level like? Was it
really panicky, or were people just behaving quickly in an emergency
situation? How would you describe the situation socially, if you will, the
way people were behaving?
CHEUNG: I would say -- you know, I was one of the earlier one who got
out. So you know, there was about two dozen of us. And some people,
again, were just shock. They were standing at the side, calling their
family. There`s a couple of people find someone who was stuck in the
debris, try to help, you know, free the person from the debris.
I think everyone was really cooperative. There weren`t any mass chaos
yet until (INAUDIBLE) more passenger were being discovered (ph).
MATTHEWS: Paul, Cheung, you`ve told a great story about a terrible
tragedy. Thanks so much for joining us here on HARDBALL.
Coming up, my hometown city of Philadelphia responds to this deadly
tragedy pretty well. More on that with Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter
and the congressional leaders here who walk these streets.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Well, three of the seven victims of the train accident have
been identified now. Abid Gilani was an employee at Wells Fargo. Jim
Gaines was a 48-year-old video software architect for the Associated Press
and father of two children. And Justin Zemser was a midshipman at the
United States Naval Academy. His mother spoke to the press this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN ZEMSER, SON KILLED IN DERAILMENT: He was wonderful. He was
absolutely wonderful. Everybody looked up to my son. And there`s just no
other words I could say!
QUESTION: How did you hear about the accident?
ZEMSER: Well, he was supposed to come home last night at 10:30. And
when I went on line to see, you know, if everything was on time, they said
there was a derailment. And then it was all plastered on TV.
And I kept on calling the hospitals, but nothing. And then we got the
phone call this morning that my son has passed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wanting to serve his country. How do you handle that?
More from the crash site in Philly after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. For the latest in the Amtrak
train track derailment, on it, here in Philadelphia, I`m joined right now
by the mayor of the city of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter.
Mr. Mayor, thank you for this.
MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER (D), PHILADELPHIA: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: And you`ve been so busy and so wonderful, everybody says,
at handling this emergency triage situation.
NUTTER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: I`m so impressed by the hospitals and the way they got to
the business of saving lives.
NUTTER: We have incredible -- well, we have incredible, hospital
personnel, the doctors, the nurses, all the staffs at the various
hospitals, our police department, our fire department. We literally just
had an emergency ops training on Monday. And so these are the kinds of
things that we prepare for on a regular basis.
And when you look at what`s going on on the ground, the relationship
between and among the city, Amtrak, NTSB, the police, fire, Department of
Homeland Security and many, many other agencies, and of course, Amtrak and
the Amtrak police, everyone working in a seamless partnership all focused
on one thing, search and rescue, making sure that we reunite families, and
then, obviously, dealing with the infrastructure and the trains and trying
to get things cleared out.
MATTHEWS: Philly is a working-class city and this is a working-class
MATTHEWS: People are have been saying that people really responded in
this neighborhood of Frankford.
NUTTER: No question about it. We`ve had an outpouring of support,
people just bringing, you know, water, juice, food, coffee, you know,
whatever they thought the first responders needed.
And we love our first responders here in Philadelphia. Everyone knows
the great history of the fire department, the police department, EMS
workers. They saved lives last night. Two hundred-plus people walked off
of that train.
You`ve seen the wreckage. You`ve seen the damage. And the fact that
they were able to walk off of that train, get service, get to a hospital,
get support and get reunited with their families is really almost a
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
NUTTER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Good politics, and I should say good government serves the
people at the right time.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Mayor Nutter.
NUTTER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
Let`s go right now for latest breaking -- let`s bring in NBC`s Tom
Costello, my colleague. Tom, give us a sense of this dimension of this,
and how are we going to find out and how soon what happened. What seems to
have happened is already out there. What are we going to find out later?
TOM COSTELLO, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that we should be very
aware that the NTSB is a very deliberate process. They will take weeks,
months and maybe even a year or more before they come up with a final
determination of what happened.
All we really know tonight is that this engineer was running the train
at 106 miles per hour as he entered that curve. That is more than double
the posted speed limit. And then he slammed on the brakes, got it down to
about 103, 102 miles per hour, and then it was too late. Of course, the
train is going off the tracks.
We don`t know why the train was traveling that fast. Was he asleep at
the switch? Was he not paying attention? Was he incapacitated in some
way? Was there a mechanical issue of some sort? He, we are told, hasn`t
yet talked to NTSB investigators. Police sources told us he hasn`t yet
talked to them either.
So -- and we`re also told he has contacted a lawyer. We`re told the
engineer`s name is Brandon Bostian -- Brandon Bostian. So, clearly, that`s
a big part of this investigation. Separately, the NTSB still is going to
be looking at the mechanics of this train. Did something go wrong? What
about the -- what about the tracks themselves? What about the wheels on
the trains? You know, what about the signals?
And then they`re going to look through all of the telemetry that that
black box picks up, speed, direction, how were the signals working in terms
of, were they being received properly? What about all of the telemetry
that gives good feedback on how the train is performing on the tracks? So,
all of that will play into this.
But, you know, Chris, you and I have done many, many discussions --
had many discussion over the years about various NTSB investigations. And,
as you know, they`re a very transparent organization. They will tell you
the facts as they have them when they come about. They`re not going to
draw conclusions yet, because, very often, that key piece of evidence that
can actually tie it all up together and explain it may be weeks down the
road. And it may not come out until they have an interview with somebody
or they have some findings.
So, they always caution us, just hang on. Listen to what we give as
information, but don`t draw conclusions yet.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Tom Costello of NBC News. Thanks for
I`m joined right now by two Democratic congressmen from Pennsylvania,
both from Philadelphia. Robert Brady represents the district where we`re
stand right now in Frankford, Philadelphia. And Brendan Boyle represents
parts of the Philly area as well right nearby.
REP. ROBERT BRADY (D), PENNSYLVANIA: How are you?
MATTHEWS: Well, you`re the leader of the city politically. You are.
And I`m just asking you, what are you going to do about this? Talk about
this PTC thing.
BRADY: Well, it`s positive -- positive train control is a device
that, if it`s in the engine and it`s on the poles, it would have stopped
MATTHEWS: So it`s a dead man`s switch?
Amtrak had it in the locomotive, but not on the pole. And in 2008, we
passed a law that all 100 railroads have to have this PTC in place by 2015.
Now, the first thing I`m doing when I want to go back, I want to talk to
the Department of Transportation. And I want to ask for a public
systemwide audit of, where they`re at, why don`t these trains have it?
It`s supposed to be in hazmat trains and passenger trains. Delay, as
you see today, unfortunately -- delay costs lives.
BRADY: And we can`t have any more delay. They have got the money.
They got to put that -- implement that system.
MATTHEWS: And you`re going to make it law?
BRADY: Well, it is law.
MATTHEWS: Well, why isn`t it happening?
BRADY: Well, they got their 215 and they`re dragging their leg,
they`re dragging their feet.
REP. BRENDAN BOYLE (D), PENNSYLVANIA: What`s frustrating is -- and we
took a tour. The NTSB and Amtrak were nice enough to and gracious enough
to take us on.
It is a horrific scene, actually far worse in person than I was
MATTHEWS: Right over here.
BOYLE: Right here.
Well, and it stretches for quite a bit from the lead car to the last
BOYLE: When you`re the NTSB standing where you are saying, if this
system were in place, if we had the PTC, this would not have happened and
seven people would still be alive today and 200 wouldn`t be injured...
BRADY: Why hasn`t it happened?
MATTHEWS: You take the train every night home.
And you take it too as well.
You know how it`s rickety. You know it jumps around a lot. It`s like
the Wild West, some parts of that route. Do we need to have a better right
of way? Can we clear a straight line for this line? How much faster --
how fast can a train go if it`s going like this?
BRADY: And I don`t know -- I don`t know why it has to go that fast.
Why do we got to get there to Washington? Just allow yourself another 15
minutes to get down there. To see something like this, it looks like a
bunch of kids threw toy trains against the wall. They`re mangled. They`re
squashed. And they still don`t know if there is anybody still there, God
BOYLE: It is a matter of priority, though. Think about it. China
has 9,900 miles of high-speed rail. We`re the United States of America.
We have zero.
MATTHEWS: Yes, it`s a communist country. And they can just -- but
they can just draw a line, Congressman, and say, get out of the way. We
have got people in the way. It zigs and zags because there are people that
own private property.
BOYLE: There is that. But there is eminent domain. And I think it`s
more that the resources aren`t being spent on it.
BRADY: Well, we have to make sure that they get this done by 2015
and, like I said, make it public.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK.
BRADY: I don`t want to have an internal where they say, we`re doing
this. It has got to be public order, systemwide. Get it done.
MATTHEWS: Big picture question here, Democrat vs. Republican. Is it
your philosophy -- maybe that`s a too big word for this. Do you believe
it`s a public service, this train? It`s not -- it doesn`t have to run at a
profit or it can be something that the country subsidizes, because it gets
people off the highway, right?
BOYLE: It runs on a profit.
BRADY: This is the only Northeast Corridor that runs on a profit.
But they don`t only carry Democrats or Republicans. They carry both.
They carry Democrats and Republicans. Today, in an appropriations hearing,
Chaka Fattah proposed a -- $200 million of more money into the president`s
budget just for this year. And it got voted down on a partisan basis,
purely partisan lines.
MATTHEWS: What is the Republican attitude? Why do they challenge you
BOYLE: Well, I will say, the suburban Republicans here, I think, from
Philadelphia, New York, New England, they get it. But, unfortunately, we
don`t get much cooperation from the other side when it comes to the other
part of the country.
MATTHEWS: But does anybody think about how many cars would be on the
BOYLE: Oh, it`s an incredible...
MATTHEWS: If this train wasn`t running, how many people would be
jamming in the airways?
BOYLE: Ask the Chamber of Commerce how important this line is.
BRADY: How about the fuel emissions?
BRADY: But it`s a shame, and it`s a shame that this had to happen. I
feel so bad...
MATTHEWS: Well, we all know the headlines tomorrow. The average guy
in the tavern tonight, tomorrow is going to say, this guy was driving 106
miles an hour in a 50-mile hour.
MATTHEWS: It`s going to be a human error thing, right?
BRADY: If he had the PTC, that would not have happened. And I don`t
know why he is going -- why he had to go to 106 miles in a five-mile span.
I have no idea.
MATTHEWS: Well, he tried to jam on the brakes, so he obviously caught
himself doing it.
BRADY: Coming up to the curve. Doesn`t he know the curve is there?
BOYLE: I would say it looks like it`s a combination of the two.
Right? Obviously, he was going double the speed.
MATTHEWS: Why would a guy jam on the brakes if he didn`t know he was
going too fast?
BOYLE: He was going double the speed he should have been.
But, at the same time, if we know that unfortunately human nature is
what it is, let`s be smart enough to put a system in place that we know
exists that we can prevent something like this from happening.
BRADY: Before the 2015 -- delay cost lives, just like happened out
here. Delay costs lives.
MATTHEWS: Congressman Brady, thank you, sir.
BRADY: Thank you. Appreciate you.
MATTHEWS: Congressman Brendan -- Brendan Boyle, the Irish.
Strange situation here. Thank you. And what a sad night. I
shouldn`t be kidding. What a sad night. But I`m so impressed by this city
and the way that you saved 200 lives, probably, the triage, the hospitals,
the willingness of people to help in the neighborhood here.
BOYLE: A lot of your -- a lot of constituents from your old
neighborhood in the northeast, law enforcement.
BRADY: Police, fire, first-responders, hospitals, hospitals.
MATTHEWS: We lost seven people, who lost more.
BRADY: And the universities. Drexel put a staging area for us too.
MATTHEWS: Frankford, great old neighborhood here.
Anyway, I`m joined right now by Dr. Herb Cushing, who is the chief
medical officer at Temple University Hospital, right now.
Thank you, Doctor.
DR. HERBERT CUSHING, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY
MATTHEWS: Tell us what -- how you handle these kinds of situations
where you have 200 people coming all in need of emergency care.
CUSHING: Temple Hospital is a level one trauma center. And it was
the nearest level one trauma center to the train derailment.
And we practiced and drilled to be prepared for just exactly this sort
of situation. Temple got 54 patients very quickly after the derailment.
And everyone jumped in to action. The trauma team was all over it. The
nurses, all the other hospital employees were helping out, making sure that
the patients were evaluated and treated in the best way possible. And they
did a stupendous job. And they really deserve our thanks and
MATTHEWS: How do the hospitals, Doctor, work together in these
situations? You have got other great hospitals in Philadelphia as well.
The ambulance crews know to sort of pace out where they`re bringing
the patients. The majority of them in this situation were going to come to
Temple Hospital because it was the nearest one. And we could have taken
more patients. And we were continuing to pull all of the time -- we were
continually clearing the trauma bays and moving the patients along, so that
we were ready for more.
I actually expected more at Temple when the extrications started later
in the event. But we didn`t get any more patients after midnight.
MATTHEWS: What of the patients in critical condition right now? Do
they all look like they will make it? Critical sounds scary. You have
lost seven people now in this accident, four dead on the train, two thrown
off the train, one died at the hospital. How do the other injured look
right now, the critically injured?
CUSHING: Yes, we`re doing OK. The day -- as the day has gone on, the
situation has looked better here at Temple. Folks are stable or improving,
even the critical care folks.
And I think the situation is going to be good for them. We had a lot
of folks with fractures and several that needed operations today, and some
more that will need operations tomorrow. But we discharged some patients
today, and probably more will be going home tomorrow. So things are
looking up. We did have the one man who died here, Mr. Gaines, last night
from a massive chest injury.
MATTHEWS: Dr. Herb Cushing, thank you so much for joining us and for
the wonderful work you`re doing and your hospital is doing at Temple
MATTHEWS: Up next: the latest on the deadly train derailment here in
Philadelphia. We will have an update on the situation on the ground, as
crews continue to go through the wreckage. That`s coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were sitting there, and then it just -- it --
you saw it go like that, swung. You could feel it off the tracks. And
then we just rolled and rolled.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And, all of the sudden, we`re on our side. And
then it looked like we were going to flip. We never flipped. We went on
to the side and back off the side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It felt like the brakes were hit hard, and then,
like, our car, we were like third from the last, just, like, slowly started
going over to the right. So, I just like braced my arm against it and kept
-- and just got off, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the next thing I knew, we were pushing out the
emergency exit and I was outside. And there were people screaming and
And we helped them out. And they`re OK now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes surveyed the devastating crash site today from
a helicopter. Let`s take a look at these pictures.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, HOST, "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES": It is at this crucial
juncture here that the train derailed. It is at this crucial juncture the
train -- and you can see just how sharp that bend is. I mean, that is
about as -- that is essentially just a right-angle left turn there for that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And Chris Hayes joins us now.
Tell us about what you will be able to see from the air you can`t see
from here. You actually -- we`re not allowed to see it from the ground.
I mean, we went up. I mean, there`s -- one thing about it is, you
know, this is the opposite of -- MH370, the plane that disappeared, total
mystery. This is -- if you look at it, you can see the physics of what
HAYES: I mean, the train went too fast. You can see the rails lifted
up off the ties, where the force of that bend put them up. You can see the
little embankment off the rails where basically that force took that train,
and particularly the second car, the first passenger car, and just crushed
it down like that.
I mean, you can -- you can see it. In fact, when you`re looking at
it, it is -- if you looked over that and someone said to me, you said, how
many people died in this train crash, you say -- I think you would say 100.
MATTHEWS: So the rails went left, the cars went right?
HAYES: Yes, the rails came up off the ties. The cars jumped off the
rail this way.
HAYES: And then -- and another striking thing was the locomotive
survives, because that is engineered to extremely high safety
specifications, such that it is reinforced. Someone today told me it`s
like a tank.
So it`s sitting there. It had been moved off the site. It`s sitting
there basically intact. It`s the first passenger car that ends up getting
all the transferred force that comes through the locomotive, which is the
first thing to hit, into that first passenger car.
MATTHEWS: What are you hearing about the scuttlebutt here? I`m
hearing what everybody is hearing, I guess, which is that the facts are out
there, a lot of it, 106 miles an hour in a 50-mile zone. Everybody knows
what that is.
And then they have the idea that the engineer jammed on the brakes,
which tells you he knew he was going too fast and then -- and tried to
It`s -- with what we know, it is hard not to think that human error is
playing some role here. Now, I suppose it`s possible there is some
mechanical set of events that would cause a train to sort of speed out of
HAYES: But, from what we know, certainly, things seem to be pointing
in that direction.
The other thing I would say is, before you get to that bend, there is
a long straightaway. I mean, you`re four or five -- you`re about five
miles from 30th Street Station. But you have been now going about two
miles straight away.
An electric locomotive like that, not diesel, right, those things
accelerate very quickly. Right? They don`t have combustion engines. So,
they accelerate in an almost linear fashion. So, they can get up very fast
MATTHEWS: You know, this is one part of the country where people take
trains, still. And we love them. You love them. Everybody loves them,
because you don`t have to think. You don`t have to pray. It`s usually a
You get on the train, you go to sleep, you read the paper, you do some
homework, a couple hours later, you`re in Philly. Less than two hours,
you`re in Philly. About three hours at the most, at the most, on the slow
train, like this one, the regional, you`re in New York City. It`s a great
HAYES: And the thing we know about transportation psychology is that
people will tolerate way higher risks for cars they`re going to drive than
they would tolerate for any mode of transportation where someone else is in
HAYES: So, you can tell someone planes are very safe. And they are
exceedingly safe, right?
HAYES: But people get nervous on -- now, it doesn`t take a lot...
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s all or nothing in an airplane. That`s the
HAYES: That`s right.
HAYES: But it -- well, that`s true.
But it doesn`t take -- it also doesn`t take a lot of train accidents
to really affect the psychology of people, because people like to be in
I think -- do you think this is going to change the politics, where
members are going to say, you know what, we have been chintzing, they were
chintzing again the other day on Amtrak, that, you know, we better be
careful here, politically?
HAYES: I would think so.
I mean, look, the Bush -- the Rail Safety Act that passed in 2008 was
signed by George W. Bush. It wasn`t some lefty socialist piece of
MATTHEWS: Yes. Yes.
I will tell you, I think the train is the greatest thing in the world
MATTHEWS: I hope they can continue to make it safer.
MATTHEWS: Chris Hayes.
MATTHEWS: Love that ride in the chopper. I wish I got it.
Anyway, thank you, Chris Hayes.
Up next: The Amtrak derailment has thrown the spotlight back on the
crisis over this country`s infrastructure, a boring word infrastructure,
until there is a crisis. So what are our leaders going to do about it?
U.S. Congressman Steve Israel of New York is trying to do about it --
he spoke up about it today. He joins us next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: We are divesting from America in
this subcommittee, in this committee. And it doesn`t make sense. And it
defies the interests of the American people.
They expect us to watch over their safety when they get on trains,
when they are on planes, when they are in cars on highways. And last
night, we failed them. We failed to invest in their safety.
What we should have been doing is subsidizing the safety of those
passengers on that Amtrak plane -- train yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
On a party line vote today, the House Appropriations Committee voted
to cut funding to Amtrak by a quarter million dollars. In the hearing
before that vote, Democratic Congressman Steve Israel of New York spoke
about the need for safety improvements in light of last night`s tragedy.
It led to a heated exchange with his Republican colleague Mike Simpson of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE SIMPSON (R), IDAHO: You have no idea, no idea what caused
this accident. And to use that as a means of supporting the last
amendment, support it if you want to. But don`t use this tragedy in that
way. It was beneath you.
REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: But continuing to divest from safety
and training and training of personnel is a lack of priorities when we`re
in fact at the same time increasing subsidies away from safety of
passengers and the American people to special interests. That is the point
that I was making.
SIMPSON: Would the gentleman yield?
ISRAEL: I will.
SIMPSON: That`s not what you said. You tied it directly to an
accident, a tragedy that happened last night and suggested because we
hadn`t funded it, that`s what caused that accident. And you have no idea
what caused it. And that`s a shame.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by the congressman in question,
Democratic Congressman Steve Israel of New York.
Congressman, thank you for joining us.
When you look at this tragedy, a number of facts jump out at us. The
driver, the engineer was going 106 miles per hour in a 50 mile zone. He
jams on the brakes. It looks like human error here.
However, just to complete the picture, a lot of people say they might
have been speeding all the time in that zone. And by the way, is it the
infrastructure, the tracks themselves that make it very difficult to be
Your thoughts? Put it together.
ISRAEL: Well, Chris, there are three things that comprise good, sound
One is personnel training, making sure that an engineer is abiding by
the rules, is operating the train safely. The second is maintenance.
Making sure that when we`re on a train or a plane, on a highway, those
components are maintained. And the third is modernization, making sure
that we`re not driving and taking trains on a 20th century infrastructure.
We`re 0 for 3 on those things. Now, we tried to correct that today in
the Appropriations Committee.
The fact is that the Amtrak budget that we voted on today is $1.3
billion below the president`s request and $250 million less than last year.
So, we offered a simple amendment today in the Appropriations Committee.
And that was to restore those funds. And what we got was a party line
vote. They defeated that amendment just within 24 hours after this
And my final point is this: Republicans said that it`s just that we
couldn`t afford to add those funds back, that we couldn`t afford to
subsidize train safety. Well, two weeks ago, they repealed the entire
estate tax at a cost of nearly $700 billion to the treasury without a penny
So instead of subsidizing special interests, we need to subsidize the
safety of Americans and their infrastructure.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about that train ride. Everybody takes that
train from D.C. to New York and loves it. But the problem with the train
ride is it`s the opposite of a bullet train. It doesn`t go straight in a
line. It jumps back and forth. It goes around every corner in every big
city. It`s a jagged line.
How do you get around that? The fact is it`s a difficult course to
ISRAEL: Yes, you know, Chris --
MATTHEWS: Certainly not at speed.
ISRAEL: Chris, I once had a debate with the former head of the
Metropolitan Transparency Agency -- Administration in New York when I was
telling him that we need high speed rail. He said you`ll never get it
done. It`s too complicated. It`s too expensive.
I said to him I`m glad you weren`t around in the 1850s and the 1860s
when we built the Transcontinental Railroad right through the Rocky
Mountains. If we could do those things now, we should be able to do them
now. And we have to quit this defeatism and this lack of priorities in
It can be done. If other countries can do it, we can find the will
and the way to do it here.
MATTHEWS: But we have a country where people can complain, and
communist countries like China, they just draw a straight line. Whether it
goes through your house or not, it`s a straight line.
This Amtrak, I`ve been taking it for half a century. It doesn`t go in
a straight line. In this case, it tried to make a turn and turned over
because there are so many turns on that route.
How do you get rid of the turns?
ISRAEL: You`re right. If you can`t get rid of the turns, at least
fund the PTCs, at least fund the positive train control systems that would
immediately stop the train if it`s going too fast around a curve. But
we`re not funding that because we`re underfunding our infrastructure.
MATTHEWS: Right. Bob Brady, the congressman from here, was just on
talking about PTC and that system, the dead man`s switch basically is what
it is. How do you make sure that`s on every train going forward?
ISRAEL: You do it by simply investing. The reason that the PTCs
aren`t on every train is simply because of the money. Congress passed a
law saying you`ve got to have the technology, but you figure out how to pay
for it. Instead of taking money out of the treasury to repeal the estate
tax, we`re doing permanent tax credits for special interests, put the damn
PTCs on every train. It`s a very simple proposition.
MATTHEWS: Yes, Congressman Steve Israel, thank you, sir. You`re
making good hell over this.
ISRAEL: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And you ought to be doing it. Somebody has got to.
ISRAEL: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: When are we going to fix our problems after seeing they`re
Up next, we`ve got a dramatic look inside the crash from former U.S.
Congressman Patrick Murphy who was actually on the train and lived through
this, and was something of a hero himself.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Former U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy was on that train
when it crashed last night.
Here is some of his unbelievable firsthand account.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK MURPHY, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: I made sure I helped people
get out. You know, at first I checked to make sure I still had my arms and
legs. It was pretty violent.
The guy next to me was unconscious. So I got him up, sat him up,
patted his face, get up, brother, get up. Then he got up and came to so I
yanked him up.
I had to pull myself to the other side. So, the ceiling was the side
window. I pulled myself up on to the bench area so I could reach the
emergency exit and punch it out. And people that were able to get out were
getting out. So I helped push them up. And then I was just trying to help
the folks that couldn`t move and that were really in bad shape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Patrick Murphy himself will be here in just a moment
to tell us more. We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
And former United States congressman from Pennsylvania, MSNBC host
Patrick Murphy, was on that Amtrak train last night when it derailed. He`s
with me now.
Congressman, tell me about it.
You`re something of a hero, I`m hearing.
MURPHY: No, no.
MATTHEWS: Yes, yes. You helped some people get off that train?
MURPHY: Well, I punched -- I climbed up and punched out the window
and took the people up eventually to make sure that we took care of those
who couldn`t move.
But I`ll tell you, Chris, within minutes, the Philadelphia Fire
Department personnel and cops were climbing up with the ladder, coming up
through the window, and on that team. They were the real heroes. I mean,
they literally save lives last night.
Now, people in the (INAUDIBLE) -- they`re the ones that, I mean, that
scene last night, there were live electrical wires on the track. They
sacrificed, you know, selfless, going through. If they had touched it,
they would have died. They went into those trains, helping as many people
as they could, stabilize the situation.
MATTHEWS: You`ve been in the military. How did they put this whole
thing together in such a quick reaction? The response was like everybody
is talking about it. Rudy Giuliani was talking about it. All of a sudden
the mayor of Philadelphia has got the fire department in charge, a clear
chain of command. A section of responsibility for everybody, and everybody
went into it, including the cops.
MURPHY: Yes, I came out last night, right there, right off the track,
I stood there and called Rachel and Lawrence, gave them play by play. And
I will tell you, it was wave after wave of first responder. Wave after
wave of stretchers, just making the people out, making sure they brought
them to safety. This is where right up here --
MATTHEWS: In the dark?
MURPHY: Yes, in the dark. And bringing lights and doing what they
MATTHEWS: I was watching Lawrence last night. It was amazing, like
scattered light with flashlights, it was very (INAUDIBLE). It could have
MURPHY: Yes. I mean, listen I -- I feel very blessed that I`m here,
only by the grace of God. When I -- Senator Tom Carper from the state of
Delaware, was next to me, he got off in Wilmington. When that train
derailed and rolled over, I would have knocked him out.
That train threw me. I`m 6`1", 200 pounds. That threw me like a rag
doll. When I was there --
MATTHEWS: Did you sense it coming? Did you sense any kind of
vibration or any kind of crazy speed?
MURPHY: Yes, I felt the vibration, and then we went this way --
MATTHEWS: Did you think it was odd going that fast through the city?
MURPHY: To be honest with you, Chris, I was -- I was on my iPad and I
had my ear buds in, I was doing work. I was rushing to be with my daughter
Maggie and my son Jack. And so, before they went to sleep to give them a
So, it just happened so fast, but I know when I got him, I mean, I
just checked my arms and legs to make sure they were there. It was
The guy next to me was knocked out. They woke him up and helped these
people get out, staying with the ones that were wounded. We don`t leave
anyone behind in the military. I wanted to make sure we took care of those
guys until those firefighters came to that window.
MATTHEWS: You know, I was saying earlier, because -- like a lot of
people, I pray on airplanes, because turbulence is real. It doesn`t bring
down a plane, but you always think it will. You always feel pretty safe
getting on the train. Probably the worst thing that`s going to happen is -
- well, nothing`s going to happen. A train is a train, it`s on tracks, it
stays on tracks.
But it seems like it`s more dangerous than you think, because this,
seven dead people now, 200 injured.
MATTHEWS: So, what`s -- you`ve been in Congress before, are they
going to do anything about it, are they going to make it safe, fix the
infrastructure, fix the tracks, set the speed, put the dead man`s switch?
Those kinds of things?
MURPHY: They should do their job, we all know that. (INAUDIBLE) try
and do it.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
This is a nice little neighborhood right here?
MURPHY: And yours too.
MATTHEWS: I was just explaining to people here, this is the home of
the Frankford Yellow Jackets, which is the National Football League
champions in 1927. These neighborhood are the championship team. They
played over here and Connie Mack.
MATTHEWS: A nice old neighborhood, I`m so glad people came out and
helped last night, as you say.
MURPHY: Yes, it was awesome.
MATTHEWS: They did their job, citizens.
Thank you so much, former Congressman Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania.
Much more from the crash scene here in Philadelphia. We`ll be right
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I started hearing people, I was on the
side. Someone tell me I`ve been delirious and that they carried me off.
The shoes -- my shoes are not my shoes. Somewhere I lost my shoes. A lady
gave me her shoes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I leave you tonight with fairly good news. The
hospital`s reporting that the people in critical condition are going to
make it, which means it was a bad night last night, the country and for
Philadelphia and the tragedies on that train. It`s a better night tonight
because first responders and what they`re able to do, to save 200 people,
get to the hospital, to get them treated and save those critically wounded,
saving their lives. It`s been a good day since.
I`m turning it over to Chris Hayes.
"ALL IN" takes over right now.
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