Anderson Promises to Improve Safety

Amtrak co-CEO Richard Anderson has promised to improve safety at the carrier and implement any recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board after it concludes its investigation into a derailment in Washington state that left three dead about 100 injured.

“This is a wakeup call and it is not acceptable to have these types of accidents,” Anderson said during a news conference in Tacoma, Washington.  “We must get to the bottom of this, figure out what happened and make it sure it never happens again.”

Thus far investigations have determined that Amtrak Cascades train No. 501 was traveling more than twice the posted the speed limit moments before it derailed near Olympia on Monday morning.

Investigations are probing if the engineer was distracted just before the crash by the presence of a conductor trainee in the cab.

The train was making the first revenue run on a new route known as the Point Defiance Bypass that is owned by Sounder Transit and had recently been rebuilt.

Thirteen of the 14 cars on the train left the tracks on a curve that crosses over Interstate 5. The train was carrying 86 people, including the crew members.

At least five vehicles on the interstate highway was struck by falling train cars, but none of those killed were in those vehicles. On Wednesday night, authorities said 24 people were still hospitalized.

The locomotives and passengers have been removed from the cash site to a nearby military base where the NTSB will continue its investigation.

Amtrak has resumed service between Seattle and Portland, Oregon, using the Point Defiance route.

However, due to equipment shortages, Cascades Service between Eugene, Oregon, and Portland will have substitute equipment.

There will be no food service, checked baggage service, business class or bikes.

Nos. 505 and 508, which were scheduled to operate between Eugene and Seattle, will operate only between Seattle and Portland.

New trains Nos. 515 and 510 will be introduced on the segment between Portland and Eugene with a cross platform connection at Portland for passengers traveling north of there.

These schedules are expected to be in place through at least Jan. 2.

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