Highway reopened after ‘Amtrak Cascades’ wreck; third victim identified

RELATED TOPICS: WEST | AMTRAK | DERAILMENTS/WRECKS
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This overall view shows cars off both sides of the tracks at the Interstate 5 bridge near DuPont, Wash., on Monday, Dec. 18.
Steve Carter
DUPONT, Wash. — The Amtrak Cascades train that derailed and crashed into a Washington highway this week — killing three people and injuring dozens more — was finally removed on Wednesday. The locomotive and cars from Amtrak train No. 501 were trucked to a nearby military base where the National Transportation Safety Board will continue to look for answers as to why the train was going more than twice the posted speed limit moments before jumping the tracks north of Olympia, Wash.

Meanwhile, authorities identified Benjamin Gran, 40, of Auburn, Wash., as the third victim in Monday’s wreck. Gran was a railroad enthusiast and, like many aboard the train Monday, wanted to take part in the inaugural run on the Point Defiance Bypass, a new 14.5-mile detour that takes Amtrak trains inland and away from Puget Sound.

On Wednesday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Amtrak vowed to cover all costs related to the derailment, including medical and incidental expenses incurred by those injured and their families, the cleanup and repair of the Interstate 5, and the restoration of passenger rail service.

“This is a significant commitment and I appreciate that (Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson) has offered this support early and unequivocally,” Inslee says.

Interstate 5 was re-opened late Wednesday after being closed since Monday’s derailment. Some additional cleanup and guardrail repair was expected to be completed before Thursday morning’s commute.

“It took a highly-coordinated effort with several agencies during the initial emergency and recovery to reopen the highway after this terrible tragedy,” says Washington state transportation department Regional Administrator John Wynands. “We appreciate the patience of people in the nearby communities and users of the road while crews worked to ensure this stretch of I-5 is safe for the traveling public.”

Amtrak resumed service Tuesday between Portland and Seattle using the Point Defiance route. Due to equipment shortages, the train will operate on an amended schedule through Jan. 2.

See the original article online.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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