Amtrak train derails in Woodland

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

Updated: July 18, 2012, 10:26 PM

 

A northbound Amtrak train’s front locomotive derailed in Woodland about 6:50 p.m. Wednesday. The train carried 86 passengers, and no injuries were reported, Amtrak officials said.

The train was bound for Seattle.

Train passenger Mike Roberts, 52, of Vancouver said the 508 Amtrak Cascades train was moving at a slow speed when he suddenly saw enormous clouds of dust and smoke.

The train came to a sudden stop, he said. The wheels of the lead engine lost contact with the rails, Amtrak officials said.

The 10-car train left Vancouver at 6:30 p.m. and was to arrive in Seattle at 9:45 p.m.

“It’s lucky no one got hurt,” Roberts said.

Passengers were bused to Seattle. A train heading south from Seattle to Eugene, Ore., was held in Centralia, and those passengers were bused to their destination.

The derailment was at Kuhnis Road and Whalen Road, slightly south and west of the Woodland city limits, officials said.

BNSF Railway has sent a crane and a crew from Vancouver and cranes from Tacoma and Pasco also are needed and are expected by 5 a.m. Thursday, said the railway's Gus Melonas. He said he expected the tracks to be cleared later Thursday.

Melonas said more than 50 trains use the line in a 24-hour period. Discussions are taking place about rerouting freight traffic, Melonas added.