Amtrak Reveals Engineer To Blame For Train Derailment

Jul 7, 2017

An investigation into a recent passenger train derailment near Steilacoom, Washington, reveals speed and human error are to blame.

The derailment happened Sunday afternoon at Chambers Bay. Amtrak Cascades 506 was traveling from Eugene, Oregon, up the Washington coast to Seattle when the engineer failed to slow down to the 40 mph limit as the train approached a drawbridge.

Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham wouldn’t say exactly how fast the train was going, but said it was enough to activate the derail switch on the tracks.

That caused the locomotive, baggage and four passenger cars to slide off the rails, while eight passenger cars and a rear locomotive remained upright on the tracks.

Graham confirmed that the train engineer is currently suspended without pay.

“The safety of our passengers and employees remains our No. 1 priority,” said Graham in an emailed statement.

All 267 passengers survived, but some suffered minor injuries and were treated at a local hospital.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting.