Amtrak runs trains after Washington state derailment
STEILACOOM, Wash. (AP) — Amtrak got its passenger trains running along the Washington and Oregon coast Monday as investigators tried to determine why two cars went off the tracks a day earlier. Passengers suffered only minor injuries when the locomotive and baggage car of the Amtrak Cascades train carrying 267 passengers derailed in Steilacoom, a town about 45 miles (73 kilometers) south of Seattle.
Amtrak was operating the line but with restricted speeds, so some delays were expected on the route between Vancouver, Canada, and Eugene-Springfield, Oregon, spokeswoman Vernae Graham said. The train that derailed was moved off the tracks during the investigation, but all the cars were put back by Monday morning, officials said. Crews also replaced the rails that were damaged during the derailment, said Gus Melonas, spokesman for BNSF Railroad, which owns the tracks.
Eric Weiss, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the agency was monitoring the situation "for any issues that would lead to a full investigation." Passengers' belongings were being gathered and will be returned, Graham said.
Amtrak does not yet know how fast the train was going at the time of the derailment near the Chambers Bay golf course, the site of the 2015 U.S. Open. The speed limit in the area is 50 mph (80 kph), Graham said.
Mitchell Crowley, of Redmond, told the Seattle Times that he was in a car that went off the track. "I was in the farthest back, didn't go very far off the rails," the 18-year-old said. "I did get to have that exciting experience: Brake, brake, brake and tipping over."
Crowley said the car tipped about 15 degrees. All passengers were evacuated and provided with alternate transportation, Amtrak said. The Gig Harbor Police Department said one of its patrol boats was helping environmental officials use pollution-control equipment to block fuel from leaking into a nearby body of water.