Amtrak train 501 derailed near DuPont, Washington around 7:40 a.m. PST Monday. At least 77 people have been taken to hospitals, and six people have died. A total of 13 of the 14 train cars jumped the track, and many fell off the bridge down onto the Interstate 5 freeway, with one car left dangling from the bridge. There is a curve in the track immediately before the bridge where the derailment happened, and one report stated that the train was travelling 80 miles per hour. There were 78 passengers on board, along with five crew. The train can hold as many as 250 people.
Speed was the cause of a 2015 Amtrak derailment that killed seven people. In that crash, the train was travelling at 106 miles per hour on an area of track that has a speed limit of 80 miles per hour that then drops to 50 miles per hour for a curve.
“There are three or four more cars upside down where you can’t see,” along with more in the woods, Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said. The train hit five motor vehicles when it came down onto the freeway, but no motorists were killed.
Monday was the first day of service for Amtrak from Seattle to Portland.
More information about Monday’s crash can be found here.
Human error is often the cause of train derailments, especially when excessive speeds and curves are involved. Driver inattention allows the train to enter the curve at a much higher speed that what is safe, causing the train to derail, exactly like it did in the 2013 Spanish train crash that killed 79 people.