Reports: Amtrak Train Cars Separate at 125 Mph

February 7, 2018 Updated: February 7, 2018

An Amtrak train reportedly “broke apart” at 125 mph on its way to New York’s Penn Station.

Sources told the New York Post that Amtrak’s Acela Express heading from Washington, D.C, to New York City decoupled at 6:30 a.m. Several cars were held together by air hoses, the report said.

“Someone could have been walking through the train when that happened and fell to their death,” one source said.

None of the 52 people on board were hurt.

“There was a lot of sparking and smoking at the head of the train and a lot of bouncing around,” a source told the paper.

A photo that was taken by a worker at Amtrak showed a connector between the coupled trains separated and broken. There was an approximately six-foot-wide gap between them.

“It felt almost like we were dragging something,” said Andrew Exum, 39, according to the paper. The train separated about 50 miles north of Baltimore.

“I looked out the window and saw a shower of sparks coming out the side of the train,” Exum added. “Pretty quickly, the train came to a halt and the Amtrak folks rushed forward. I could tell by their faces that this was serious, and that we weren’t going anywhere.”

“There were a lot of fumes and a little bit of smoke,” he added. “So we moved to the next car and just kind of waited. They powered down the train so we were literally in the dark for 30 minutes or so, maybe a little bit longer.”

It comes after an Amtrak train going from South Carolina from New York City smashed a freight train, killing two workers.

Amtrak Train 91, carrying nine crew members and 136 passengers, was traveling from New York to Miami when it hit the CSX Corp freight train that was stopped on a side track, or siding, at about 2:35 a.m. local time (0735 GMT), Reuters reported.

The section of track was operated by CSX and the Amtrak train was diverted onto the siding at a switch where a padlock had been attached to steer train traffic that way, Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Board, told a news conference.

“Key to this investigation is learning why the switch was lined that way,” he said, calling the damage to the locomotives “catastrophic.” An NTSB investigation team was at the site.

Amtrak engineer Michael Kempf, 54, of Savannah, Georgia, and conductor Michael Cella, 36, of Orange Park, Florida, were killed, Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher told reporters. Autopsies were underway, she said.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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