*updated 12/19 2PM
Multiple deaths have been reported after an Amtrak train derailed over a highway in Washington. Although the cause is not yet known, it appears the train was traveling 50mph over the posted speed limit while entering a curve. The train was traveling around 81 mph at the time of the accident, while the speed limit for the curve was 30mph. The train was part of a new high speed service that started Monday morning. At least seven trains were derailed. 3 people have been killed, and over 100 injured.
The tracks are not owned by Amtrak, but are owned and maintained by Sound Transit. The Amtrak Cascades train service is jointly owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Transportation. The railway recently underwent a $181 million renovation.
“Local emergency responders are on the scene. Service from Seattle to points north and east is continuing to operate. Amtrak Cascades Trains 504 and 509 are cancelled.” Reads a statement by Amtrak.
This is not the first instance of an Amtrak train derailing. In April 2016, two maintenance workers were struck and killed by an Amtrak train that had derailed in Pennsylvania, going 100mph. In March 2016, a train derailed in Kansas, injuring 32 people. And in May 2015 an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia after speeding through a curve. That train was going twice the speed limit, and killed 8 people.