An Amtrak train carrying over 700 passengers on its way to Florida partially derailed in Fairfax County, Virginia (VA) leading to multiple injuries, according to the Washington Post. Reports indicate two front wheels on the train apparently lost contact with the tracks causing the derailment.
The Amtrak Train (#97) was considered a “special train” and this was not a standard service trip.
The details of what exactly caused the two wheels to lose contact with the track are unknown. Could there be a structural or mechanical issue with the track itself? Maybe. We’ll have to wait and see what the investigation reveals.
This accident comes on the heels of a fatal Metro rail accident where two employees were killed by a maintenance truck while installing new safety equipment to the track . This Amtrak accident also comes at a time when the Obama administration is advocating for light-rail expansion and promoting rail as a good way to travel.
From January to October of 2009, Amtrak had 1,193 train accidents/incidences with 109 fatalities and 1,074 injuries, according to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis.
If the administration truly wants to promote rail as legitimate form of transportation for the general public to use on a regular basis, getting the right safety protocols in place to prevent these types of derailments is necessary.