Weather Updates

Mudslide derails 3 cars on Chicago-to-Seattle Amtrak train; no one injured


Updated: May 9, 2013 6:38AM

A mudslide derailed three cars on a Chicago-to-Seattle Amtrak train Sunday morning near Everett, Wash. No one was injured, and passengers boarded buses for the final leg of the trip.

The wheels of the last three train cars — a dining car and two coach cars — lost contact with the tracks about 30 miles from Seattle, near Everett, when a 30-foot-long, 15-foot-high pile of earth, trees and rocks fell about 100 feet onto the tracks, which are owned by Burlington Northern Santa-Fe, said Gus Melonas, a spokesman for the railway.

The train, known as the Empire Builder, left Chicago on Friday with 86 passengers and 11 crew, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said.

The derailed cars were disconnected, and the passengers were taken to Mukilteo, Wash., where they were transferred to a bus bound for Seattle, according to BNSF and Amtrak. Passenger delays totaled about two hours.

Amtrak service between Everett and Seattle was suspended, probably until Tuesday morning, according to a statement issued by Amtrak.

Washington state has been plagued by mudslides this winter and spring, repeatedly closing tracks that carry Amtrak trains, plus freight and commuter lines.

The tracks where the Empire Builder was damaged were closed as recently as March 21 because of mudslides.

A freight train derailed on the same stretch of tracks in October.

“This has been one of the most problematic years we’ve faced, historically,” Melonas said. “It’s due to day after day after day of successive rainfall.”

BNSF is working on solutions to stop mudslides in the area, Melonas said.

Contributing: Staff Reporter Mitch Dudek

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