Deaths feared as train derails on highway bridge in Washington state

Posted December 19, 2017

Several people have been killed and at least 20 others were taken to hospital after a passenger train in the United States derailed about 40 miles south of Seattle, sending a number of carriages plunging on to a major highway.

Amtrak Cascades train 501 was taking its inaugural run down a new route today outside of Tacoma, Washington.

"Something went very, very wrong and there are some questions we will demand to be answered", said Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) in a statement.

"No fatalities on the roadway". The accident snarled morning rush hour traffic and officials warned the highway, Interstate 5, would be blocked in that area for a long period of time. As they went through train cars one by one, he said they came across a train attendant who appeared to have serious back injury.

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'Next thing, we're being slammed into the front of our seats.' People kicked out windows to escape, he said. "People were screaming." Karnes said the tracks were supposed to have been upgraded to accommodate higher speeds. "I saw a little bit of both", Konzelman said.

A passenger identified as Alex told the local KOMO News TV channel that the train had attracted rail buffs excited over the new service. All but one vehicle jumped the tracks.

Local officials had warned only weeks ago that the track still might not be safe enough to handle trains at higher speeds.

The train was reportedly travelling at more than 80 miles per hour when it derailed.

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US President Donald Trump tweeted that the incident shows "more than ever" why his infrastructure plan "must be approved quickly". Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble!

The new Siemens Charger locomotives were equipped with "positive train control" safety systems, created to automatically stop the train in unsafe situations and mandated for trains around the country.

In 2015, an Amtrak train going far over the designated speed for a stretch of curves in the track in Philadelphia derailed, killing eight.

The derailment occurred on the first day Amtrak trains began using the new inland route between the Washington cities of Tacoma and Olympia, part of a 154 million euro ($181 million) project to cut travel time.

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