Pennsylvania Record

Friday, September 20, 2019

Recent SEPTA train collision at 69th Street Transportation Center yields first injured passenger lawsuit; Engineer was speeding, it claims

By Nicholas Malfitano | Sep 1, 2017

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)

PHILADELPHIA – The first lawsuit filed against the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in connection with a recent train collision that occurred at Upper Darby’s 69th Street Transportation Center and injured more than 30 people on Aug. 22 alleges the train's engineer was speeding before the crash.

Derrell Robbson of Philadelphia filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Aug. 23 versus SEPTA, also of Philadelphia.

On Aug. 21, Robbson finished work and boarded SEPTA’s Norristown High-Speed Line and its Train 155, en route to the 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby and his home in West Philadelphia. Over the course of that trip, Robbson claims Train 155’s engineer overshot train station platforms when making route stops, and when approaching the 69th Street Transportation Center just after midnight on Aug. 22, reached “excessive and careless speeds.”

The lawsuit says suddenly and without warning, Train 155 collided with Train 148, which was stopped on the same track at 69th Street Transportation Center. At the time of the crash, Train 155 held 41 passengers, including Robbson. The plaintiff was then taken to Bryn Mawr Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Robbson says he sustained a head injury, cervical strain, abrasions, contusions, plus other permanent and severe injuries, and that these same injuries were suffered wholly as a result of the defendant’s negligence and carelessness.

Federal investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have launched an official inquiry into the crash, a process they say could take up to one year to complete.

The accident in question was the second crash to take place at the 69th Street Transportation Center this year. The first one occurred in February and in that accident, a train on the Market-Frankford Line also collided with a stopped train and derailed into a rail yard, which injured one of the operators.

For a lone count of negligence, the plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages against defendant SEPTA in an amount in excess of $50,000 and prevailing arbitration limits, exclusive of pre- and post-judgment interest and costs.

The plaintiff is represented by Thomas R. Kline and Patrick Fitzgerald of Kline & Specter, and Robert Mongeluzzi of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky, all in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170802182

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority