Rail accidents raise major concerns

A comprehensive investigation of safety shortcomings is needed

Two crew members were killed early Sunday when an Amtrak passenger train on the wrong track crashed into a line of freight cars. More than 100 people were injured in the accident, which occurred in South Carolina.

Rail accidents seem to have become a regular occurrence. Sunday’s was the third fatal Amtrak crash in two months.

Traveling and transporting freight by train ought to be a reasonably safe thing. Trains run on tracks, after all. Positioning technology ought to keep them away from hazards. Speed-control equipment should prevent accidents from engineers going too fast.

But accidents for all these reasons have been reported during the past year.

Clearly, a comprehensive look at rail safety is needed. The industry should welcome it. Passengers and shippers should demand it. Surely some way of avoiding frequent rail accidents can be found.