NTSB PRELIMINARY REPORT: Amtrak Derailment

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on the December 2017 Amtrak derailment in DuPont, Washington.

You can read the full preliminary report HERE.

The preliminary report does not give a reason for why the train’s engineer and trainee were operating the train at more than double the posted speed. The NTSB is expected to take 12-24 months to complete the investigation of the derailment that left three people dead and dozens injured. 

"As of the date of this report, the NTSB has not yet been able to interview either operating crewmember of the lead locomotive due to their injuries sustained in the accident," the preliminary report states.

The 55-year-old engineer had been working for Amtrak since May 2004 and had been promoted to engineer in August 2013. The other crew member in the cab of the locomotive was a 48-year-old “qualifying” conductor who was being familiarized with the territory. This conductor had been working for Amtrak since June 2010 and had been promoted to conductor in November 2011.

Many of the details provided in the report were previously revealed in the NTSB’s initial review. Among the other new information from the preliminary report: 

  • The damage caused by the derailment is estimated to be more than $40.4 million.
  • Fourteen vehicles on Interstate 5 came into contact with the derailed equipment, which included the lead locomotive, the power car, and two passenger railcars.
  • Of the 70 people injured, 62 were aboard the train and eight were in vehicles that were struck on I-5 during the crash.
  • Both the 55-year-old engineer and 48-year-old conductor trainee who were in the lead locomotive were among the injured.
  • An advanced type of technology called Positive Train Control (PTC) could have prevented the crash by warning the engineer that the train was traveling too fast, then automatically slowing the train if the engineer did not respond.
  • The parties to the investigation include the Federal Railroad Administration; Amtrak; Sound Transit; State of Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission; Siemens Industry, Incorporated (manufacturer of the locomotive); the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen; and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers.
Chris Davis
Award-winning personal injury attorney and founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, Washington.
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