Amtrak Cascades train derails between Seattle and Portland

Dec 18 2017, 6:04 pm

Editor’s Note: This story is now being updated here, after multiple fatalities were confirmed. Please check that link for updates.

An Amtrak Cascades train has derailed onto the I-5 highway in Washington State while travelling between Seattle and Portland.

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency, after 13 train cars and two engines derailed, hitting vehicles on the freeway below.

Inslee has just visited the site of the derailment to meet with first responders, family members and passengers.

According to a statement from Amtrak, the train was believed to be carrying around 78 passengers and five crew members.

MultiCare hospitals, which is treating those injured in the derailment, say on Twitter there are 22 people being cared for at three different hospitals around Tacoma.

In a statement on Twitter, Amtrak President and co-CEO Richard Anderson said:

“On behalf of everyone at Amtrak, we are deeply saddened by all that has happened today. We will do everything in our power to support our passengers and crew and their families.”

The train derailed south of Tacoma, in Du Pont, as it was travelling towards Portland on Monday morning. It had left Seattle at 6 am.

In a Twitter post, Inslee described the derailment as tragic.

The Pierce County Sheriff stated on Twitter that several cars on the I-5 were hit by the train, leaving multiple drivers injured, although not fatally.

In a later update, Public Information Officer Washington state Trooper Brooke Bova said five motor vehicles and two semi trucks were hit.

The Cascades trains often begin their journey in Vancouver, however, this was a new daily train that only shuttled between Seattle and Portland.

In a statement, the Washington state Department of Transport (WSDOT) said this was the first day of public use of the tracks, after weeks of inspection and testing.

“Today’s tragic derailment… has significantly impacted the lives of many this morning,” said the statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this event and their families.”

The statement said the train will be removed from the highway as soon as emergency response was complete, but they estimate this will be a length process.

Trains from Seattle to Vancouver are continuing to operate, but if you’re driving down the I-5 be ready for delays, diversions, and closures.

According to WSDOT, 60,000 people use that affected section of the southbound I-5 every day, and they do not know when it will reopen.

Anyone worried about friends and family on the derailed train should call (800) 523-9101.

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