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Accident Report Detail

Derailment of Amtrak Passenger Train No. 27

Executive Summary

On April 3, 2005, about 9:35 a.m., westbound Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation) passenger train No. 27, consisting of a single locomotive unit and four passenger cars, derailed at milepost (MP) 58.56 2 on the BNSF Railway Company’s (BNSF’s) Northwest Division. The train was traveling 60 mph on single main line track when it derailed as it was traveling through a cut section of the Columbia River Gorge on the north side of the Columbia River near Home Valley, Washington. The train remained upright; however, the cars came to rest leaning up to approximately 35° against the outside curved embankment. There were 106 passengers and 9 Amtrak employees on board. Thirty people (22 passengers and 8 employees) sustained minor injuries; 14 of those people were taken to local hospitals. Two of the injured passengers were kept overnight for further observation; the rest were released. Track and equipment damages, in addition to clearing costs associated with the accident, totaled about $854,000.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the April 3, 2005, derailment of Amtrak passenger train No. 27 near Home Valley, Washington, was the BNSF Railway Company’s inadequate response to multiple reports of rough track conditions that were subsequently attributed to excessive concrete crosstie abrasion, which allowed the outer rail to rotate outward and create a wide gage track condition. Contributing to the accident was the Federal Railroad Administration’s failure to provide adequate track safety standards for concrete crossties.

Accident Location: Home Valley , WA    
Accident Date: 4/3/2005
Accident ID: DCA05FR010

Date Adopted: 10/18/2006
NTSB Number: RAB-06-03
NTIS Number: