Rep. Pingree: Amtrak Downeaster workers should be praised for accident response


But Pingree said Wednesday that thanks to the Amtrak workers who safely removed everyone else involved in the accident, delays along the route were minimized.

"The accident could have been much, much worse, and in part we have the crew to thank," she said at the being of floor debate Thursday. "We should all take a moment today to think about the men and women in our transportation system, who work day-in and day-out to make sure that we are safe."

"The next day the Downeaster left Portland and arrived in Boston three minutes early," Pingree said.

The accident was the second crash involving an Amtrak train and a truck in recent weeks. A tractor-trailer hit a train in Nevada in June, leading to six deaths.

The accidents taken place against a backdrop of debates in Washington about privatizing Amtrak service in the Northeast. Republicans say that private companies could operate the service more efficiently than Amtrak.

Democrats have consistently defended the national passenger rail service, as Pingree did Thursday.