In a developing story, a train derailed in Washington State on Monday, carrying out its inaugural trip. The Amtrak 501, carrying 77 passengers and 5 crew members, was en route from Seattle to Portland, and the train derailed 20 miles south of Tacoma. The derailment left train cars in various states of wreckage, from over turned completely, some flung as far off as in the woods, one dangled from a bridge overpass, while, still, some found there way onto the nearby highway, I-5, causing havoc.
The new train route is part of Amtrak’s efforts to improve their overall service throughout the country. This high-speed train was intended to supply more reliable, faster service to and from Seattle and Portland, specifically through Tacoma, where a new station was also built. The Point Defiance Bypass Project’s plan was to take the prior service line, which had a derailment last July resulting in injuries, and create a better route. The previous line clung to the Puget Sound and had tight turns as well as single-track tunnels. This new route utilized existing rail lines to connect to the main line.
Witness and passenger reports are still trickling in, and an investigation is on the way, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Exactly what happened has not been released. Some say there was wobbling on the tracks just before the catastrophe. The train derailed as it crossed the I-5 highway overpass. It’s estimated that the speed of the train was about 70 miles per hour. Some locals have been expressing concern over the speed of the train, saying it would be both dangerous and disruptive to communities.
While traffic came to a halt, no fatalities have been linked to motorists, only train passengers. The number of fatalities are not yet known. Service to Seattle has been temporarily suspended.