Amtrak Collision


Brynn Taylor, Reporter

The sound of a train is less than unrecognizable as it approaches the station. Many people find that a train is a way of calming transportation, for all the scenery and the people you may meet. For Amtrak employees, it is no question about how much they may love their job, but things started taking a toll.

Amtrak Train No. 501 was on its new rail route from Seattle to Portland when suddenly 132-ton locomotive dropped in the south lanes of the Northwest’s busiest travel highway, Interstate 5. Two of the twelve passenger coaches fell partly in the traffic lanes, where two other coaches were left dangling off the bridge, one of them crammed between two large trailers. On the street below are five crushed cars, two semi-trucks and huge pieces of concrete that were torn away from the street. The derailment ended with at least three deaths and 100 passengers injured.

Most recently, Feb. 5, Amtrak Train 91 was in South Carolina and was mistakenly diverted to a side track and crashed into an automatic freight train, killing two Amtrak employees and injuring 116 people. It is standard procedure when switches are automatically operated, a padlock is held so the switch is in its alignment, but did not go off. Amtrak CEO and president, Richard Anderson, told CNN that “…the signal system along the section of track where the crash occurred was down and the tracks were being manually controlled by CSX.” There will be many questions for the company on whether they are responsible for the collision or it was a mechanical error.

For now, the families of the victims will pray for justice for their dead or injured loved ones.