DUPONT, Wash. (WJZ/AP) — Just weeks before an Amtrak train derailed south of Seattle, killing three people and wounding dozens more, a local mayor predicted that people would be killed if additional safety measures weren’t taken, according to local media reports.
The section of track where a train derailed Monday had just been upgraded as part of a $181 million project for a new, faster route.
The train was going more than 80 mph about one-quarter mile before it entered a curve where the speed limit was much lower, just 30 mph.
While navigating that turn, Train 501 left the tracks, and some cars landed on the highway below.
Amtrak’s president says positive train control — the technology that can slow or stop a speeding train — wasn’t in use on the stretch of track.
Local media outlets report that Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson had warned the Washington State Department of Transportation that the route would be deadly.
“It’s virtually inevitable that someone is going to get killed that wouldn’t be killed otherwise,” Anderson said at a council meeting featuring a presentation by WSDOT.
“Come back when there is that accident, and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements, or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens for very, very, very little, highly subsidized, transportation enhancement. While it’s a great project for bureaucrats, it’s a terrible one for the community, and when somebody’s killed, I want somebody from WSDOT Rail back here telling me why they didn’t put in the safety enhancements.”
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