At least 3 people were killed and more than 100 injured when an Amtrak passenger train derailed in Washington state, near DuPont, early in the morning of December 18, 2017.
The crash happened about 7:40 a.m. near DuPont, which is about twenty miles south of Tacoma. Preliminary reports are that the train came out of a curve and ran off the track while crossing or approaching an open trestle over I-5. Train cars derailed and cascaded off of both sides of the track, with several falling onto the highway and crashing into vehicles. One rail car dangled dramatically over the highway. Several motorists in the vehicles on the interstate were struck by the falling train cars and were injured. Tragically, multiple fatalities are already being reported, but there were no fatalities among people in those vehicles, according to the DuPont sheriff.
The Amrak train was carrying 77 passengers and 7 crew members, according to the Washington State Patrol. Monday was the first day of the Amtrak Cascades 501 service between Seattle and Portland, a brand new service line. The tracks themselves were not new, but had recently undergone an almost billion dollar upgrade.
While news reports and federal investigations are just beginning, our firm is already working with local and national experts to compile the facts concerning this tragedy. Immediate questions are being raised by those familiar with the railroad industry, including the train accident attorneys at Bolt Hoffer Boyd. Among the immediate safety concerns are the speed of the train going into this curve, as passengers are reporting an estimated 70+ mph speed, despite a federally mandated maximum speed limit of 30 mph for the curve. The lack of positive train control, a device which automatically stops and slows trains when it’s going to derail, is another obvious concern. Another potential red flag is, of course that this was newly introduced service line, with freshly upgraded track.
Bolt Hoffer Boyd’s railroad and train accident attorneys have handled dozens of cases in Washington. We want to help immediately, so please call us today at 763-406-7000, email us, or request a free inquiry to our railroad attorneys.