Train was traveling 50 mph over recommended speed before crash

Dec 19, 2017, 5:59 AM | Updated: 9:27 am

train derailment...

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The train that derailed near DuPont Monday morning was traveling too fast when it entered a curve.

Photos of the scene

The Washington State Patrol confirmed three people were killed.

According to a spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board, data from the train shows the train was traveling “at 80 mph on a 30 mph track.”

>> Attorney believes excessive speed caused derailment
>> Passenger says train was traveling 82 mph before incident

What remains unclear is why the train was traveling as fast as it was. The train was part of a new high-speed service from Seattle to Portland. It was a new route, but testing had been done before the inaugural run. And the speed limit was posted.

The NTSB says it’s too early to tell why the train was traveling so fast.

There were 80 passengers and five crew members on the train that consisted of 12 cars and two locomotives. Seventy-two people were hospitalized when all but one locomotive left the tracks — 10 were in serious condition and another 13 had minor to moderate injuries. Only 19 people walked away uninjured.

Additionally, five passenger vehicles and two semi-trucks were involved in the derailment when a train car fell off the overpass over I-5.

The Seattle Times quoted Russell Quimby, a former NTSB consultant, who says the track appeared relatively undisturbed, and it didn’t look like anything knocked the train off the track — the lead engine just went in a straight line instead of following the curve.

The question now is: Would an automatic braking system have prevented this?

“PTC (positive train control) would prevent types of accidents such as this,” NTSB spokesperson Bella Dinh-Zarr said.

Whether it would have prevented this deadly derailment remains to be seen.

According to Sound Transit, which built the new tracks, the necessary track equipment was installed. But when the president of Amtrak was asked this question: “I understand that the track was run by Sound Transit. Was positive train control activated on those tracks?” His answer was, “No.”

Originally, Congress set a deadline of 2015 for completing the control system across the country. That has since been pushed back to December 2018.

This is the third fatal passenger train crash that appears to be due to speed — there was the 2013 Metro-North commuter train crash in the Bronx and the 2015 Amtrak crash in Philadelphia.

Local News

Image: A Seattle Police vehicle...

Frank Sumrall

Report: Seattle Police ended contract with AI service after Auderer’s comments

SPD canceled its contract with Truleo less than a month after Officer Daniel Auderer's comments about Jaahnavi Kandula's death were captured, a report says.

10 hours ago

Washington wildfires...

Ted Buehner

Maui and Spokane: 2 public warning systems and the need for preparedness

The tragic wind-whipped Maui wildfire last month took many lives. How does the public warning system here shape up in comparison?

12 hours ago

spd auderer...

Frank Sumrall

Seattle Police Officer Daniel Auderer reassigned

Daniel Auderer, the officer who made inappropriate comments over the death of Jaahnavi Kandula, has been reassigned to a non-operational position.

14 hours ago

Muskox calf...

Bill Kaczaraba

Meet Willow: Tacoma zoo’s new muskox calf is big enough to wander

Earlier this month, Charlotte the muskox gave birth to a female calf at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma. The calf, named Willow, is healthy.

15 hours ago

pierce county humane society...

Julia Dallas, KIRO 7 News

Pierce County Humane Society asking for help after 13 puppies rescued in 48 hours

The Tacoma and Pierce County Humane Society is asking for help after it received 13 puppies in 48 hours, all abandoned.

16 hours ago

Artificial Intelligence AI...

Bill Kaczaraba

UW researcher examines AI’s impact on teen learning

One University of Washington researcher says she believes, if used correctly, Artificial Intelligence can help teen students learn.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Train was traveling 50 mph over recommended speed before crash