Amtrak Cascades begin PTC testing on bypass

RELATED TOPICS: AMTRAK | POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL
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Cascades_Bypass_Lassen
An Amtrak Cascades train passes through Tacoma, Wash., on June 19, 2018. The connection to the Point Defiance Bypass is in the foreground.
TRAINS: David Lassen

SEATTLE — The Washington State Department of Transportation will begin positive train control testing this weekend for Amtrak Cascades trains on the Point Defiance Bypass, KING-5 TV reports.

Tests will be conducted between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with trains running at speeds up to 79 mph.

Amtrak trains were originally scheduled to begin using the bypass in 2017, but the first run of a Cascades train on the route, on Dec. 18, 2017, resulted in a derailment that killed three passengers when the train entered a curve near DuPont, Wash., at excessive speed. [See “NTSB: Amtrak ‘Cascades’ engineer applied brakes seconds before crash,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 22, 2017]

Amtrak trains were then shifted back to their original, coastal route between Tacoma and Nisqually, Wash., until PTC was in service. [See “Washington closes Point Defiance route to passengers pending installation,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 22, 2017.] The state DOT has said it expects Amtrak to return to the bypass in spring 2019.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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