Amtrak Cascades #501 south from Seattle derailed this morning, while crossing over I-5 in the vicinity of Mounts Road, west of Dupont. There are at least three casualties, many injuries, and some carriages are a total loss. Our thoughts are with survivors, and the families of everyone on board. No root cause has been established, although there are no grade crossings on this section of the line.
I-5 will likely be closed for hours, so avoid freeway travel in this area and expect major disruptions.
Seattle Times is actively covering this disaster.
Update 10:28: “Per the Pierce County Sheriff, if you had a loved one on Amtrak Cascades 501, there is a family reunification center now at the Dupont City Hall. Please go there, NOT to the scene. The Amtrak number to call if you have family members on the train is 1-800-523-9101.”
Update 2:02 PM: Statement from WSDOT
Update 12/19 9:47 AM: New York Times: “The National Transportation Safety Board said at a Monday night briefing that the train had been traveling more than twice the speed limit before it derailed, or at 80 miles per hour instead of the allowable 30 m.p.h.”
Also, a detailed summary from Sandy Johnston at the Itinerant Urbanist discussing PTC, Amtrak, and much more.
Update 12/19 11:02 AM: Zack Willhoite, Pierce Transit employee and frequent STB contributor (MrZ) and Jim Hamre of All Aboard Washington, died in the accident. Our thoughts are with their families and the communities they helped to build.