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Two Workers Dead, Several Passengers Injured After Amtrak Train Hits Equipment On Track

The NTSB is investigating an Amtrak train crash near Philadelphia, resulting in the death of two workers, and injuring more than 30 passengers aboard the train.

The train was traveling was traveling southbound heading for Savannah, Georgia when it struck a backhoe on the tracks. The impact derailed the lead engine of the train that was carrying more than 300 passengers and seven crew members. One of the workers killed was operating the backhoe; the other was a supervisor. It is unclear why the backhoe was on an active track, but officials said the train was going 106 mph in a 110 mph zone when it struck the equipment.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D) said it is unclear whether the equipment was being used for regular maintenance, which usually is scheduled on Sunday mornings because there are fewer trains on the tracks, or whether it was clearing debris from high winds in the area overnight, but he said there is virtually no excuse for a backhoe to be on an active track. “Clearly this seems very likely to be human error,” said Schumer.

The derailment comes almost a year after an Amtrak train from Washington D.C. bound for New York City derailed in Philadelphia. Eight people were killed and more than 200 were injured in the May 12 crash. The exact cause of that crash is still under investigation, but authorities have said the train had been traveling twice the speed.

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