Amtrak train that derailed in Montana was going under speed limit, investigators say

Amtrak train that derailed in Montana was going under speed limit, investigators say
© Greg Nash

Investigators on Monday disclosed that an Amtrak train that derailed in Montana, resulting in at least three deaths, was going just under the speed limit when the incident occurred.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said the train was traveling at 75 mph when it derailed, The Associated Press reported. The cause of the derailment has yet to be determined, though Landsberg said the train did have a black box on it, recording everything that happens on the train.

“We have experts that are studying the camera footage frame by frame to make sure that we see exactly what the engineer saw — or maybe didn’t see,” he said.

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On Saturday, seven cars on the Empire Builder train derailed near Joplin, Mont. The train was traveling from Seattle to Chicago. More than 50 people were injured in the derailment.

The NTSB soon after announced that it will be investigating the incident.

Landsberg said a preliminary report on the derailment is expected within the next 30 days, according to the AP.

Former NTSB rail-accident investigator Russ Quimby theorized that heat damage was what caused the cars to derail, pointing to how the front car remained on the track while the lighter cars behind it did not.

“This has all the earmarks of a track buckle also,” Quimby told the AP, saying it was common for a locomotive to make it through a track buckle but the cars following it to not do the same.