Amtrak cites 'mechanical failure' for Acela separation

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An Amtrak Acela Express rolls through Old Saybrook, Conn., in 2016. Two cars on an Acela trainset separated at speed on Tuesday.
Photo by Scott A. Hartley
NEW YORK — Tuesday’s pull-apart of an Acela Express train was caused by “a mechanical issue,” according to an Amtrak spokesman. Inspection of other Acela trainsets found no similar problem.

Cars of the semi-permanently coupled trainset on a northbound Northeast Corridor train separated at 124 mph near Havre de Grace, Md., about 5:55 a.m., on Feb. 6. There were no injuries, and the 52 passengers aboard were transferred to another train.

It was the first time an Acela trainset has experienced this type of issue, Amtrak’s Jason Abrams said in a statement to Trains News Wire.

“This is the first time Acela has ever encountered this mechanical issue,” Abrams said. “Following the separation, the train’s safety systems functioned as designed and immediately stopped the train. As a result of this incident, Amtrak mechanical personnel at three mechanical facilities examined the connecting hardware on each of the Acela trainsets during daily inspections yesterday and found no defects.”

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