3 Dead After Amtrak Train Derailment in DuPont, Washington
Amtrak Cascades 501, a passenger train headed from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Oregon derailed in DuPont, Washington. Three were killed in the derailment, with many others in critical condition. Reuters reported 80 passengers and 6 crew members were aboard the train. In total, 13 of the 14 train cars jumped the track.
After jumping the tracks, several of the train cars plunged onto the I-5 highway, falling off the overpass. The derailed Amtrak train was making its inaugural voyage from Seattle to Portland along this route. According to Amtrak, the train was utilizing refurbished tracks on this route in order to provide an expedited commute. The derailment occurred at a segment of the track where a bend is accompanied by a significantly reduced expected rate of speed.
The National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") sent dozens of crash investigators to the crash sight to help shed light on whatever deficiency led to the derailment. NTSB officials confirm the claim made by Transitdocs.com, a website that maps Amtrak train locations and speeds, that the train may have been traveling upwards of 80 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone.
NTSB officials informed the press that Amtrak Cascades 501 was not equipped with a new safety feature known as "positive train control." Positive train control is a safety feature designed to automatically trigger a trains' emergency braking system. It is believed this braking mechanism, if installed, would have sufficiently slowed the train to prevent the derailment.