Before Derailment, Train Was Going 80 in 30mph Zone

NTSB says it's 'too early to tell' why it was going so fast
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2017 5:36 AM CST
Before Derailment, Train Was Going 80 in 30mph Zone
In this photo provided by Daniella Fenelon, first responders work at the scene of an Amtrak train that derailed in DuPont, south of Seattle on Monday, Dec. 18, 2017.   (Daniella Fenelon via AP)

The Amtrak train that derailed in Washington state Monday morning, killing at least three people, was speeding, officials say, and not by a trivial amount: The train was going 80mph in a zone where the limit was 30mph when it came off the tracks on an overpass between Tacoma and Olympia, spilling cars onto Interstate 5, National Transportation Safety Board member Bella Dinh-Zarr said Monday night. She said it was "too early to tell" why the train, which was making its first run on a new route, was going so fast, the AP reports. Washington state transportation department spokeswoman Barbara LaBoe says the train was supposed to slow down dramatically as it entered the curve, and speed-limit warnings were posted two miles ahead of the zone as well as just before it, reports the Seattle Times.

Amtrak President Richard Anderson says positive train control, a system that can slow down speeding trains, was not in use on the stretch of track where the accident occurred. More than 70 people were injured in the crash, at least 10 of them seriously, authorities say. It's not clear yet whether the three people killed were motorists or people from the train, which carried 80 passengers, five crew members, and a technician, the Oregonian reports. State police say 19 uninjured people from the train were reunited with their families. President Trump tweeted that the accident showed why his infrastructure plan "must be approved quickly," though the New York Times notes that the accident happened on brand new tracks that were part of a state-funded infrastructure investment program. (More Amtrak stories.)

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