A massive Amtrak derailment Sunday morning left two workers dead and sent dozens to the hospital, causing widespread delays to the ire of passengers at Union Station in Washington, D.C.
The fatal crash impacted commuters up and down the Eastern seaboard, with passenger frustration mainly stemming from a lack of transparency from Amtrak officials. Shocked commuters waiting for their trains at Union Station said authorities gave little information about the crash, what caused it and if rail safety remained a threat, according to a Monday WUSA9 report.
Travelers also said they weren’t told when their trains would be coming and how long delays were going to impact travel.
“I had to go from Newark to NYC to catch Greyhound and come here and just getting to here was hard cause buses sold out,” Erin Hunt, an agitated traveler, told WUSA9. “I’m annoyed, tired and hungry.”
The Amtrak train heading from New York to Georgia derailed when it struck a piece of heavy equipment several miles outside of Philadelphia in Chester, Pennsylvania. Officials confirmed two fatalities, the operator of the machinery and a supervisor, both Amtrak workers, reports WJLA.
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Over 30 passengers were sent to the hospital with various injuries, however none are reportedly life threatening. There were roughly 300 passengers aboard the train headed for Georgia. The heavy equipment responsible for the accident is reported to be a backhoe.
It is unclear why the machinery was on the tracks. New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is calling for an internal review by Amtrak, said the accident could be the result of regular Sunday morning maintenance when there is less commuter traffic. The equipment may also have been clearing debris from windy weather the previous night.
“Clearly this seems very likely to be human error,” said Schumer, according to the Associated Press. “There is virtually no excuse for a backhoe to be on an active track.”
Amtrak services are now operating on schedule in most areas, however there will be residual delays on tracks around the Pennsylvania area.
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