Amtrak blamed a freight rail operator, CSX Corporation, for causing a crash on Sunday that killed two people and injured more than 100 others when one of its passenger trains was diverted onto a side track and slammed into a parked, unmanned freight train in South Carolina.
In the U.S. passenger rail operator’s third fatal crash in as many months, 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.
Amtrak President and Chief Executive Richard Anderson said CSX was responsible for the tracks and signals, including one that had a lock attached to it and diverted the Amtrak train onto the side track.
“CSX had lined and padlocked the switch off the mainline to the siding, causing the collision,” he said in a statement.
CSX did not address the comments by the Amtrak CEO but said it was working with federal investigators. Both Amtrak and CSX offered their condolences to the families of the two people who died.
Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Board, told a news conference the section of track was operated by CSX and there was a padlock on the switch that steered train traffic onto the siding.
“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 being conducted, she said.
Two of the 116 people injured were in critical condition after the wreck, which occurred about 5 miles (8 km) southwest of the state capital, Columbia.
“It’s a horrible thing to see, to understand what force was involved,” South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster told reporters. “The first engine of the freight train was torn up, and the single engine of the passenger train is barely recognizable.”
Anderson said the passenger train hit the tail end of the CSX train. That train had two locomotives and 34 empty auto racks used to transport cars, the NTSB said.
The passenger train’s locomotive was left lying on its side, and the first car was bent and also derailed, although it remained upright, images from the scene showed.
At least four of the freight train’s cars were crumpled, looking like crushed tinfoil, but remained on the tracks.
The passenger train was part of Amtrak’s Silver Star Service. Officials said some 5,000 gallons of fuel leaked as a result of the collision but that there was no threat to public safety.
If you or a loved one was injured in the Amtrak / CSX train collision in Columbia, South Carolina, please contact the Goings Law Firm immediately to learn about your legal rights. Trust a South Carolina law firm with the reputation and experience of recovering millions of dollars for its injuries clients.
The train collision that occurred in Columbia on Feburary 4, 2018 was preventable. It seems like negligent conduct is to blame for this tragic event
A train switch that was apparently locked in the wrong position is being blamed by federal investigators for a train collision early Sunday that killed two people and injured up to 116 others near Cayce.
Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said Sunday afternoon that there’s no evidence of foul play, although the FBI is assisting in the investigation.
Sumwalt said the accident could have been avoided if a federal safety system, under consideration for years, had been in place. The system is supposed to slow down trains when a problem lies ahead on a track. He called the damage to the trains “catastrophic.’’
Sumwalt made his remarks after an Amtrak train slammed into a stationary CSX freight train at 2:35 a.m. in Lexington County. An NTSB official declined to say if the accident was the fault of CSX, but noted that CSX is responsible for maintaining proper track position. CSX is the owner of the track but Amtrak uses the line.
If you or a loved one were injured in this train accident, call us today for a free consultation. We are Real Lawyers in Columbia. 803-350-9230
The Goings Law Firm are South Carolina lawyers that represent victims hurt in train collisions.
Statistics from the National Transportation Safety Administration (NTSB) suggests that a train wreck or train crash occurs every 2 hours in the United States. There are approximately 3,000 train wreck and crashes per year in the United States. Trains are still used to move products and materials throughout South Carolina but when train wrecks happen, the results are usually catastrophic. Many factors result in the train accident being more serious because of the speed of the train, the weight of the train and the stopping distance for a train. Train wrecks happen for many reasons but some of the more common are:
- The train conductor falls asleep or fails to properly operate the train
- Improper communication between trains, and train conductors and engineers
- There is a collision with another train
- A derailment occurs
- A collision with a car or bus
- There is a train mechanical failure that leads to an accident
- The train tracks are too old or improperly serviced or maintained
Since there are many factors that lead to a train wreck, there are many people who can be held responsible for your injury, loss of income, or pain and suffering. While it’s the responsibility of the railroad company to maintain the tracks and the train you ride, truck and car drivers also have the responsibility of following the laws and not attempting to cut across the tracks after the crossbars have been lowered.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of a train accident, contact the Goings Law Firm today for a free consultation. We have the experience to get you the result that you deserve. Call us today at 803-359-9230
Amtrak, CSX train collision in South Carolina leaves 2 dead, 115+ injured
On Sunday morning, February 4, 2018, two people were killed in a crash involving a freight train and an Amtrak passenger train early Sunday in Columbia South Carolina, as the trains were traveling through the town of Cayce.
Amtrak Train 91 was traveling between New York and Miami with 147 people aboard when it collided with a CSX freight train in Cayce. At least 115 people were injured and transported to local hospitals, Lexington County spokesman Harrison Cahill said. Injuries ranged from scratches to broken bones.