Washington Amtrak Derailment: Police Drone Footage

On December 18, 2017, at 7:33 a.m., Pacific standard time, southbound Amtrak passenger train 501, consisting of a leading and trailing locomotive, a power car, 10 passenger railcars and a luggage car, traveling at 78 mph derailed from a highway overpass near DuPont, Washington. The speed limit for that curve was 30 miles per hour.

When the train derailed, it was on its first regular passenger service trip on a single main track (Lakewood subdivision) at milepost 19.86. The lead locomotive, the power car, and two passenger railcars derailed onto Interstate 5. Fourteen highway vehicles came into contact with the derailed equipment.

At the time of the accident, 77 passengers, 5 Amtrak employees, and a Talgo Incorporated technician were on the train.1 Of these individuals, 3 passengers were killed, and 62 passengers and crew members were injured. Eight individuals in highway vehicles were also injured.

The damage is estimated to be more than $40.4 million.


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Author: rafael.nieves


29 thoughts on “Washington Amtrak Derailment: Police Drone Footage

  1. Talgo's were designed to run fast on bad rails like Spain one of the countries with more mountains. But even being the best trains for agility, if you double the maximum speed that happens, safety warnings and better railways are needed, on Spain the accident was by the same error, going 70mph more than the limit, the Talgo trains can go safe at higher speds, more than the limit but not that fast. On Spain the crash was at 120mph on a 50mph zone, and the train derrailed for a bit, at 100mph it will not derrailed, so safety warnings will saved lifes, in our case the railway was not ended because politicians opened the train service before all security installed.

  2. to everyone holding the engineer accountable for derailing this train, here's the full story.

    the night before, December 17th 2017, Amtrak 508 came into tacoma with NPCU 90252(?) and P42DC 181. When they came to flip the set for 501 the next day, the NPCU had a problem which took it out of service and was replaced with SC-44 1402. the engineer wasn't trained for SC-44's and was trained during the night on this route. the SC-44's have different gauges than P42's, F59PHi's, and NPCU's, so he was focusing on that. he was looking for a sign that would indicate he's close to the curve. He missed said sign, and hit the curve. the reason this happened is because of improper training and lack of ptc, which would've slowed the train.

  3. I remember the impact it had on my daily commute to work. Southbound I-5 was completely closed for several days. Traffic was forced off the freeway then detoured through JBLM (Joint Base Ft. Lewis [Army] McChord [Air Force]). I recall military personnel and vehicles at every intersection to deter wanderers until we exited the base and returned to I-5.

  4. Unlike what your politicians and media tell you, Positive Train Control isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Computers aren’t perfect. I am a Locomotive Engineer and I run trains daily. Now with PTC, I find myself not only trying to focus on my job but now I have to overcome all the glitches and breakdowns of the PTC system. Very distracting. People seem to focus on the disasters and forget the millions of tons moving safely on thousands of miles daily. I don’t think trucks can claim that. Do we install Positive Truck Control on them? There is daily deaths involving trucks. Not with trains. A large percentage of train accidents are due to track or equipment failure and vehicles on crossings.

  5. Protip, always sit in the rear cabins on a train. 99% of train derailments, it's always the front cabins that take the brunt of a collision/derailment, and the scale of damage/impact tapers off as it approaches the rear, as evident even with this derailment, the rear 4 sections are mostly undamaged compared to what i guess i can guess is the front of the train cabins which were obliterated, crushed, impacted, pushed by the cabins behind..

  6. When asked by our grown kids what to get us for our 50th anniversary we told them an Amtrak Ameripass ticket for the western states. Since this crash we have since told them we are happy to have a nice dinner out in our own town. We no longer want to take a train anywhere. We don't fly anymore due to my health and driving is a chore. How about Greyhound? Is there safety in buses?

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