'We were fortunate': Amtrak train derailment injures seven

An Amtrak train, carrying 98 passengers and four crew members, destined for Washington, D.C., derailed in central Vermont on Monday.

Brian Snyder/Reuters
A train trestle crosses over the road near where an Amtrak passenger train derailed in Northfield, Vermont, October 5, 2015.

An Amtrak train destined for Washington, D.C., derailed in central Vermont on Monday after striking rocks that fell from a ledge onto the tracks. Seven people were injured, including one who was airlifted to a hospital.

The Vermonter train carrying 98 passengers and four crew members derailed at around 10:30 a.m. in Northfield, about 20 miles southwest of Montpelier.

At an afternoon news conference, officials said the train hit rocks that had fallen onto the tracks from a ledge above. One locomotive and one passenger car went over an embankment, and three other cars left the track but remained upright.

"This was a freak of nature," Gov. Peter Shumlin said.

One of the injured was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire and was being evaluated in the emergency room, spokesman Rick Adams said. Six others went to Central Vermont Medical Center with injuries including neck, back and shoulder pain and lightheadedness.

State officials said a freight train had passed over the same tracks Sunday night with no problems.

Bob Redmond, of Bay City, Michigan, was taking a foliage tour and sitting in the front row of the third car when the train derailed. He looked outside the window and saw the car that had been ahead of his was now alongside him.

"It was just going the other way, and we started tipping sideways and down we went," he said.

The Vermonter takes the route daily, beginning in northern Vermont. The 13-hour, 45-minute trip passes through cities including Burlington, Vt., Springfield, Mass., and New York, with D.C. as the final destination.

"We were fortunate when you see what happened," Redmond said. "It could've been a whole lot worse, that's for sure.

Tracy Zaplitny, also of Bay City, said she and other passengers broke a window to get out of the train.

"It's a huge wreck up there," she said.

At least several dozen passengers were loaded onto school buses to be taken to an armory at nearby Norwich University.

Passengers helped others after the crash. Redmond said since he was in the front row, he got off the train first, and he and others started helping people off the train.

Investigators for the Federal Railroad Administration were on the scene.

Vermont State Police and local fire and rescue agencies responded to the derailment, and numerous emergency vehicles were at the site.

___

Associated Press writer Joan Lowy contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.