Amtrak Train Derailment in DuPont, Washington
A tragic scene just before Christmas in DuPont, Washington. An Amtrak train derailed and crashed. Emergency responders were helping those involved in a multiple train car crash as well as people on the ground in vehicles. There were train cars dangling off the trestle that goes over Interstate 5. This was a twelve car train going across the freeway and at least nine of those cars left the track at 7:40 in the morning at the height of rush hour. It was reported 3 people lost their lives and all fatalities were in the train cars. There were at least 5 to 6 vehicles on the ground that were hit by falling train cars.
This occurred on a sharp curve when the train was going 81.1 miles/hour and derailed off the track onto Interstate 5. The speed limit for this location was supposed to be 30 miles/hour and not 81.1 miles/hour. There were 78 passengers on board in addition to five crew members. There were people on the ground as well as in the train cars that were injured. 100 people were reported injured and 3 fatalities. There was speculation that something may have been on the tracks that caused the derailment. Cars and a semi-truck were overturned on the ground. Injuries included head, spinal cord, fractures, internal and minor injuries.
“The railway route had recently undergone a $181 million retrofit program in order to speed up passenger service that previously traveled away from the freeway and along the coast. Part of that retrofit was to include “positive train control” systems that can prevent dangerous situations such as excessive speed.”
“The 14.5-mile corridor is now equipped for positive train control equipment, but the train controls aren’t operating yet in that area, said Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson. An Amtrak spokesman said the equipment was still being tested.”
“Federal safety officials have been pushing for the implementation of those control systems for years, including in 1993 after a head-on crash between freight trains killed five crewmen in Kelso, Cowlitz County. Congress first mandated in 2008 that they be put in use by the end of 2015.”
This was an inaugural journey, first time passengers traveled on the train from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Oregon to save 15 minutes of commuters time. This was a highly controversial move to open this route and now a horrible accident has occurred.
One of the train passengers was Emma Shafer, who found herself at a 45-degree angle staring at the seats in front of her that had dislodged and swung around. “It felt oddly silent after the actual crashing,” Shafer said. “Then there was people screaming because their leg was messed up … I don’t know if I actually heard the sirens, but they were there. A guy was like, ‘Hey, I’m Robert. We’ll get you out of here.’”
We send our condolences and prayers to the family members of those who lost their lives in this train crash and a speedy recovery for those who were hurt.