Amtrak Train Derails on Highway Bridge in Washington State

Pic @wspd1pio

It was the train's inaugural run between Seattle and Portland.

"These are new, upgraded tracks - that's what is so surprising about this", said John Niles with the Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives, which joined local elected officials in opposing the project.

At a Monday night press briefing, Capt. Dan Hall with the Washington State Patrol said 19 people - including motorists and people aboard the train - were transported from the scene uninjured and 72 people were transported and evaluated.

Amtrak president and co-chief executive Richard Anderson said: "On behalf of everyone at Amtrak, we are deeply saddened by all that has happened today".

"All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill", passenger Chris Karnes said, as cited by Reuters. The previous coastal route often encountered single-track tunnels that freight trains also shared, slowing down service. Of those 72, 10 are in serious condition, four suffered moderate injuries and 9 had minor injuries.

A train crew member told an emergency dispatcher the train came around a corner before the bridge and then "we went on the ground", according to an audio recording posted by Broadcastify.com.

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Conductor: "I'm still figuring that out".

- March 14, 2016: An Amtrak train travelling from Los Angeles to Chicago derailed in southwest Kansas, sending five cars off the tracks and injuring at least 32 people. "We got off after shooting the video".

Local officials had warned only weeks ago that the track still might not be safe enough to handle trains at higher speeds.

The accident prompted the closure of all southbound lanes of Interstate 5 in Pierce County near Mounts Road, the Washington State Department of Transportation said on its website.

Photojournalist Terry Griffin for Seattle's KIRO 7 said in a tweet that first responders are "treating this as a mass casualty incident". Trudi and I are holding in our hearts everyone on board, and are praying for the many injured.

"We will do everything in our power to support these passengers, our employees and their families".

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