‘it is inevitable that someone is going to get killed’ on new Amtrak line -Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson, just weeks before train derailed at 80mph on 30mph curve resulting in six death and multiple injuries
New high-speed Amtrak train derailed Monday on its first day in service
Investigators say the train may have hit object on rails before crashing on Washington State line – killing at least six and injuring 77 – as it’s revealed high-tech system designed to prevent accident was not enabled
Derailment occurred at a Washington State overpass sending rail car crashing onto interstate below’near Olympia, Washington around 7:40am Monday
At least 6 dead, 77 hospitalized from the train that had 78 passengers and five crew members aboard – total of 100 people were injured, [passengers and motorists], included
The train was reportedly going about 80mph, when it derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5, sending a rail car crashing onto interstate below
After derailing at a curve all 12 rail cars and one of two engines jumped the tracks. One car was left dangling from the overpass
No motorists were killed on the freeway
It was the first day of a new high-speed inter-state service linking Seattle, Wash and Portland, Oregon
An anonymous official said it appears the train may have struck something right before the derailment – the train reportedly was going 81 mph before it derailed, when it was supposed to only be going 79
High-tech Train Control [PTC] system that is standard equipment on each of the brand new Amtrak Cascade engines was not switched on
The president of Amtrak said the train was not equipped with positive train control, which automatically slows a train if it’s going too fast
A local mayor voiced his fear about the new train causing a deadly accident earlier this month, mayor Don Johnson called for greater safety measures to be in place before launching the high-speed rail link
The NTSB is sending a 20-person team to DuPont to investigate the derailment
Poignantly, the mayor of a town near where an Amtrak train derailed in its first-ever run along a faster route in Washington reportedly warned that it was just a matter of time before deaths resulted from operating the high-speed rail link in its current form.
On the day, train 501 was travelling at 81 mph a quarter of a mile before it reached curve with a 30 mph speed limit and derailed near Tacoma on Monday, killing three and injuring dozens of others.
This seemed to support concerns voiced by Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson, in early December that the Department of Transportation needed to add more safety measures before launching the high-speed trains.
Unheeded, the outcome was Multiple injuries and fatalities recorded after the Amtrak train derailed on the maiden voyage of a new high-speed service linking Seattle and Portland, on Monday, the Seattle Times reported.
Train 501 was going south when it derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5 near Olympia, Washington , causing at least one car to fall onto the freeway below Dec 18,2017
Authorities said at least six are dead, with 77 people hospitalized from the train. More than 100 people were injured, including motorists affected by the multi-rail car crash.
The Amtrak train was making the first-ever run along a faster new route when it hurtled off an overpass Monday near Tacoma and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below.
The train was moving at more than 81 mph when it derailed about 40 miles south of Seattle on a route that had raised safety concerns.
The new bypass between Tacoma and DuPont is straighter, meaning that trains can go faster than they did on the windy old line. However, earlier this month a local mayor voiced his fear about the new train causing a deadly accident earlier this month.
Late Monday, an official briefed on the investigation told AP that preliminary signs indicate that Train 501 may have struck something before going off the track. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
In addition, the new high-tech Positive Train Control (PTC) system that each of the brand Amtrak Cascade engines are equipped with was not switched on.
Ariel view of crash, of the train that set off from Seattle at 7.40am. The derailment happened just after dawn around 7.40 am on Monday Dec 18
Scene in Olympia, Wash on Monday Dec 18 2017 after AMTRAK train 501 derailed around 7:40 am
Right before the bridge, there is a sizable curve in the track and it’s believed that the train was going about 81mph at the time in a zone with a recommended speeed limit of 79 mph.
Firefighters are seen looking for more survivors on Monday
It’s still unclear what caused the train to derail Monday morning. The NTSB will be investigating.
One of the passengers told KIRO that the emergency doors were not functioning so they had to kick out the train windows to escape.
‘We had just passed the city of DuPont and it seemed like we were going around a curve,’ Karnes said. ‘All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill. The next thing we know, we’re being slammed into the front of our seats, windows are breaking, we stop, and there’s water gushing out of the train. People were screaming.’ Chris Karnes.
‘The tracks for this line were supposed to be upgraded to be able to handle higher speeds,’ he continued. ‘I’m not sure what happened at this juncture.’
First responders, worked behind the tapes, Monday
The PTC computer system which prevents a train from exceeding a speed limit and can detect objects or collisions ahead is fitted to all the new Charger locomotives on the Seattle to Portland line.
However, according to CNN, at a conference call today, Amtrak President and Co-CEO Richard Anderson said Positive Train Control was not activated on the tracks at the time.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said thirteen of the train’s fourteen cars derailed. One of them crashed onto freeway below, hitting five cars and two semi-trucks. Multiple motorists were injured, but none killed.
City of DuPont Fire Chief Larry Creekmore also says more than 100 patients transported for treatment Monday after the train went off the track and sent 13 cars onto a highway below.
A U.S. official who was briefed on the investigation said earlier that at least six people were killed. It wasn’t immediately clear how to reconcile the numbers.
The train was traveling on an updated set of tracks that run between Tacoma and DuPont, Washington, however locals had voiced concerns over safeguards for the required increase in speed
Maria Hetland was driving to work on the northbound lanes when traffic slowed and she noticed the crash.
‘As we were coming up the hill I rolled my window down and saw the train,’ she told the Seattle Times. ‘It was awful.’
Hetland said she could see people walking around the roadway near the derailment, and people sitting on the side of the freeway wrapped in blankets.
Alex cozier, a King TV reporter, told NBC News that he got off the train about 10 minutes before the derailment, after taking footage early on in the inaugural trip.
Amtrak derailment onto I-5 in Washington State on MondayAmtrak derailment onto I-5 in Washington State on Monday
Above is the train tracks where the train derailed Monday morning
The new service is supposed to make the journey between Portland and Seattle in 3 hours and 20 minutes, about 10 minutes faster than previous services, in part because the new route mostly avoids slow curves and single-track tunnels.
The new service diverges from the main train line around Tacoma, and travels on an already existing line that runs parallel to I-5, before rejoining the main line just past DuPont.
Behind monday’s inaugural trip heralding the dawn of shortened commute time on the route, was A $181million turnkey project, that also included construction of a new train station at Tacoma.
Amtrak service south of Seattle on the line is temporarily suspended. Service is continuing to the north and east of the crash.