An Amtrak train hauling more than 300 passengers and crew from Miami to New York City derailed at the Savannah, Georgia, station Wednesday night.
Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams told the Associated Press that the derailment occurred as the Silver Meteor train #98 was backing into the Savannah station. The last three cars of the train – a baggage car and two sleeper cars – left the tracks but remained fully upright. No injuries were reported.
The derailment occurred as a historic snowstorm was pummeling the Savannah area and other parts of the Eastern Seaboard. Passenger Joel Potischman, who was traveling from Delray Beach, Florida, back home to Brooklyn, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Amtrak made an announcement that a switch on the track was frozen.
“The goal was to overshoot it and back in to the platform,” he told the AJC. But the switch apparently opened, causing the three rear cars to leave the tracks.
Mr. Abrams told the AJC that most of the trains were able to continue north but some of the passengers from the sleeping car had to be transferred to a different train.
The incident comes a couple weeks after Amtrak’s Cascades 501 train jumped the tracks south of Tacoma, Washington, and hurtled off an overpass, killing three people. That derailment remains under investigation, but early signs indicate that the conductor and engineer weren’t sufficiently familiar with the new route.
That derailment occurred on the inaugural run of the new route connecting Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Investigators said the train was traveling nearly 80 mph in a downward curve where the maximum speed was 30 mph.