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Report: Employees raised concerns before Amtrak train derailment

Three people were killed Dec. 20, 2017, in DuPont, Wash. when an Amtrak train derailed along a new route. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Before the deadly Amtrak train derailment in DuPont in December, engineers and conductors told supervisors their training was insufficient, CNN reports.

USDOT secretary issues stern warning

The National Transportation Safety Board says it is aware of the issues raised by Amtrak 501 crew members. Its investigation into the accident is still ongoing.

Sources told CNN that engineers and conductors were unprepared for the route from Seattle to Portland. That includes being unfamiliar with signs and the terrain along the route.

CBS News Transportation Safety Analyst Mark Rosenker, the former chair of the NTSB, says there was tremendous pressure to open the new Point Defiance bypass line.

“They were believing that the engineer lost situational awareness … that loss of situational awareness may well have been caused by inadequate training,” Rosenker said.

The engineer in the lead locomotive at the time of the derailment told the NTSB that he “didn’t recall seeing milepost 18 or the 30 mph advance speed sign,” which was posted two miles ahead of the curve where the train derailed. The train was traveling at approximately 78 mph in a 30 mph zone.

Rosenker says it’s important to remember Amtrak dealt with a derailment in Pennsylvania in 2016. Just a month before the incident in Dupont, the NTSB came out with findings that Amtrak’s safety culture was failing.

Three people were killed when the train derailed. Dozens more were injured.

More than half a dozen lawsuits have been filed since the train derailment.

It could be up to two years before investigators know exactly what happened in December.

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