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At Least 6 Dead After Amtrak Train Derails In Washington; Gov Declares “State Of Emergency”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Update: The death toll has risen to six, according to local media reports. Meanwhile, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency as first responders are still struggling to process the scene of the accident.

* * *

Update: At least three people have been killed in today's train derailment, according to the Seattle Times.

Though that figure may rise, as authorities are reporting "multiple" casualties.

Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer told news media that there were fatalities on the train and that motorists had been injured, but not killed. The full extent of the injuries is not yet known. It's believed that, while several motorists sustained injuries, nobody driving under the bridge was killed.

At least one train car fell on to the interstate below, as the photo above shows. Meanwhile, authorities say several vehicles on Interstate 5 were struck by the falling train cars when an Amtrak train derailed south of Seattle, and “multiple motorists” were injured on the roadway, according to the Associated Press.

Amtrak has also released this statement about service disruptions due to the accident:

Amtrak is aware of an incident with Train 501, Cascades service from Seattle to Portland. Emergency services are on the scene and Amtrak management is responding. Some injuries are reported.

Amtrak service south of Seattle is temporarily suspended. Service from Seattle to points north and east is continuing to operate.

Amtrak regrets any inconvenience. This information is correct as of the above time and date. Information is subject to change as conditions warrant.

Anyone can subscribe to automated email or text message notifications if Amtrak trains are behind schedule at specific stations. Notifications can be given for up to six trains and stations by either text or email and delivered when you choose – on a single day, every day, or just certain days of the week. Create a subscription at

Passengers with travel plans also can confirm their train's status, change their plans or review refund information using a range of tools – including, smartphone apps or by calling 800-USA-RAIL. Service Alerts, Passenger Notices and other announcements are posted at

Chris Karnes, a passenger who was on the train three or four cars back from the front, spoke to a local TV station.

“I’m not sure what got hit. I’m not sure what happened,” Karnes said.

He was unhurt but near the medical tents set up in a median area between north- and sound-bound I-5, just south of DuPont.

“The only car that is on the tracks is the rear locomotive. There are several cars that are hanging over the overpass,” Karnes said.

According to WaPo, Troyer told reporters that there are fatalities and that the property damage is “catastrophic.” He said first responders are “in the woods, using chainsaws” trying to get to people. He couldn’t confirm the number of injured or dead.

“A lot of things need to be done before anyone can confirm any numbers,” he said.

The derailment occurred about halfway between Olympia and Tacoma, as the map below shows…

As we noted earlier, the derailment happened on the first day that trains were running on a new high-speed route between Seattle and Portland. It was not immediately clear whether the derailment, which came during a busy travel time one week before the Christmas holiday, was connected to the new route.

About 70 people were aboard the train, local news media reported, citing the state transportation department, according to Reuters.

Authorities said 77 people were taken to the hospital.

“Thank you to the first responders on the scene. We’re praying for everyone on board the train, and ask everyone to hold them in your thoughts,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee wrote in a Twitter message.

In comments that may have proven eerily prescient, the mayor of one of the towns through which the rerouted trains travel warned earlier this month that the high-speed trains were dangerously close to cars and pedestrians.

“Come back when there is that accident, and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements, or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens,” Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson told transportation officials in early December, according to Seattle’s KOMO News.

* * *

A day after a power failure at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson Airport – the busiest terminal in the world – left thousands of passengers stranded with flights only just beginning to resume, America's crumbling infrastructure was on display yet again on Monday, but this time, the failure looks much more severe.

To wit, Amtrak train 501 derailed in Pierce County, about 40 miles south of Seattle, according to media reports and images showing the train tumbling off the tracks and on to the freeway below. The derailment happened at around 8 am local time – or 11 am Eastern.

Developing: Amtrak train derails near Seattle onto the I-5 freeway

— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) December 18, 2017

Images of the mangled wreckage flooded social media…

***DRIVER AlERT*** All lanes of SB I-5 at Mounts Road closed

— WSDOT Tacoma Traffic (@wsdot_tacoma) December 18, 2017

Here's a livefeed of the scene, courtesy of CBS…

The accident caused “massive damage” and “people are hurt,” according to Chris Karnes, the chairman of Pierce Transit’s advisory board. Police said information about injuries would be forthcoming.

PRELIMINARY INFO – Derailed Amtrak passenger train was heading south bound. Injuries and casualties reported, numbers to come. Media staging area at Eagles Pride Golf Course. #PCSD PIO Troyer enroute, will not answer his cell while driving priority.

— Pierce Co Sheriff (@PierceSheriff) December 18, 2017

Amtrak said in a tweet that it's "aware of the incident" and will update with additional details…

We are aware of an incident involving Amtrak train 501. We will update with additional details as they become available.

— Amtrak (@Amtrak) December 18, 2017

“We don’t have any information at the moment, we’re gathering it,” said Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.

"I was just shocked," said Peter Zimmerman of Olympia. "I couldn't believe it. It was like something out of a movie." According to the local TV station, the train was traveling along a new high speed route from Seattle to Portland that had just opened Monday.

According to WSDOT, the train was running down a new bypass created to avoid slow curves and “single track tunnels on the BNSF Railway main line tracks near Point Defiance and along southern Puget Sound."

The project rerouted passenger trains to an inland route on an existing rail line that runs along the west side of I-5 through south Tacoma, Lakewood and DuPont and then  reconnects back to the BNSF Railway main line near Nisqually on the east side of I-5.

The traffic back up is now three miles and growing. Monday morning was the first time Amtrak trains used the new Point Defiance Bypass route. It was the culmination of a $181 million project that began in 2010. A new Amtrak station also opened in Tacoma. The change would reduce the length of the trip by 10 minutes and separate Amtrak trains from freight lines that frequently cause delays on the Point Defiance route.

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