The driver of a Spanish train that derailed and killed 79 people was speaking on the phone and had taken the train to nearly twice the speed allowed on the stretch of track where the crash occurred, according to court investigators who reviewed the train's "black box" recorders.

After reaching speeds of 119 miles per hour, train conductor Francisco Jose Garzon Amo tried to slow the train down "seconds before the crash," according to an Associated Press report on the court's preliminary findings, which were released Tuesday.

ODOT: Passenger Rail Expansion "Distant"

Jul 30, 2013
Jack Snell "Snappy Jack"

Passenger railway travel between Oklahoma City and Tulsa and Oklahoma City and Wichita Kansas may be a distant possibility, according to Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials.

David Streb, director of engineering for the department, said Monday that such developments are still a ways away despite all the buzz.

National Transportation Safety Board

Federal officials say a train driver's failing eyesight was the probable cause of a fiery train crash that killed three people in the Oklahoma Panhandle last year.

Dr. Mary Pat McKay told the National Transportation Safety Board that the driver’s eyesight fluctuated from day to day and he couldn’t always distinguish red, green and yellow lights.

“This was a very bright, sunny clear day,” McKay says. “He may have had difficulty telling which of the lights were illuminated.”

Mayors Back Passenger Rail Extension To Kansas

May 13, 2013
Jack Snell "Snappy Jack"

Supporters of passenger rail service through Wichita are joining forces with officials in Oklahoma and Missouri.

A letter of support signed by the mayors of Wichita, Oklahoma City and Kansas City, Mo., was unveiled Friday on the eve of National Train Day.

Rail supporters say they want to close the 185-mile service gap between Oklahoma City and Wichita. They contend creating daily passenger rail service between the two cities would strengthen the existing regional network throughout the I-35 corridor that stretches from San Antonio to Kansas City, Mo.