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Accident Investigations

Amtrak derailment


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  • Accident No: RRD18MR001
  • Accident Type: Office of Railroad
  • Location: DuPont, WA
  • Date: 12/18/2017

On December 18, 2017, about 7:33 am Pacific Standard Time, westbound Amtrak train 501 consisting of 12 passenger cars and 2 locomotives derailed at mile-post 19.8 on the Lakewood subdivision from a bridge near Dupont, Washington. The train was on its first revenue service run on single main track from Tacoma when it derailed. Several passenger cars fell onto Interstate 5, hitting several highway vehicles.

The authorized track speed in the area of the accident was 79-mph on approach to the 30-mph curve just before the bridge. A speed board (sign) was located about 2-miles before the curve. Positive Train Control is not in service on the line the train was operating on. Sound Transit reports that PTC is currently being installed, but installation is not complete.

Preliminary indications from the rear locomotive event recorder show the train was traveling at about 80-mph before a sudden reduction in brake-pipe which initiated the emergency train brakes. The reduction in the brake pipe does not appear to be engineer induced.

NTSB Board Member Bella Dinh-Zarr was the principal spokesperson during the on-scene phase of the investigation.

Updates on the NTSB’s investigation of this derailment and announcements about potential media briefings will be issued via Twitter from our handle @NTSB_Newsroom.

See the photos on Flickr

 

Related Information:

Docket

Investigative Hearing: Managing Safety on Passenger Railroads, July 10-11, 2018

9/13/2018 - Testimony of The Honorable Robert L. Sumwalt, III Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board Before the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure United States House of Representatives on The State of Positive Train Control Implementation in the United States in Washington, D.C.

2/15/2018 - Testimony of  The Honorable Robert L. Sumwalt, III, Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board Before the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, United States House of Representatives on Oversight of Positive Train Control Implementation in the United States in Washington, DC. 

Contact: NTSB Media Relations
Peter Knudson
(202) 314-6100
peter.knudson@ntsb.gov