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Train at point of rest following the derailment Credit: NTSB , NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board released thousands of previously unpublished documents from its ongoing investigation into the Philadelphia Amtrak train derailment last May.

The May 28, 2015 derailment occurred while Northeast Regional No. 188 took a sharp turn in North Philadelphia’s Port Richmond neighborhood while the train was northbound from Washington, D.C. to New York City. The accident killed eight people and injured over 200 more, while paralyzing travel between New York and Washington for days after the accident occurred.

The families of the accident, along with many survivors, have already filed civil charges against Amtrak, although Congress has limited Amtrak's liability to $295 million.

Engineering senior Joshua Pearlstein was on board the train when it derailed. Following the release of the documents, Pearlstein declined to comment, citing the ongoing lawsuit he has against Amtrak.

The NTSB accident docket, which was opened Monday and is available on the NTSB’s website, contains over 2,000 pages of laboratory reports, interview transcripts, photographs and other records that NTSB investigators have collected over the almost nine months since the accident.

Despite the new release, investigators have yet to determine the exact cause of the derailment, and the NTSB warned the public not to draw any conclusions or make their own judgments from the documents.

“The docket opening marks a transition in the investigative process where the majority of facts needed for the investigation have been gathered and the NTSB can move ahead with analysis of those facts,” the agency said Monday in a press release.

The NTSB added that the records were being released for the benefit of those with “a need and desire” to personally view the evidence that had been gathered so far about the Amtrak accident. A comprehensive analysis of the derailment will be released later in the spring.

The released documents included records concerning train engineer Brandon Bostian, whose health and mental fitness faced intense scrutiny after the accident. Routine post-accident toxicology tests by the Philadelphia Police Department the night of the accident indicated that blood and urine samples collected from Bostian tested negative for alcohol and all tested-for drugs.

Additional tests conducted at the NTSB’s request on the samples confirmed that other than an anesthetic agent that Bostian had been given after the accident, his blood work contained no suspicious substances.

With the release of these and other records, the NTSB plans to begin reviewing the evidence it has conducted.  The records will also be forwarded to the District Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, which will decide if Bostian is liable for criminal charges. Bostian is currently on unpaid administrative leave from Amtrak.

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