Cause of last month's Amtrak derailment remains under investigation
A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board on last month’s derailment of an Amtrak train near Joplin, Montana, does not identify a cause.
The incident killed three passengers and sent 44 passengers and crew to local hospitals with injuries.
Amtrak Train 7, the Empire Builder, was westbound along the Montana Hi-Line when it derailed at the right-hand curve on the BNSF Railway track the afternoon of Sept. 25.
NTSB reports the train was traveling between 75 and 78 mph — below the maximum speed of 79 mph — when its emergency brakes were activated. The two locomotives and the first two railcars of the 10-car train remained on the rail. Eight railcars derailed with four derailing on their sides. The weather was clear at the time with no precipitation.
NTSB says a future investigation will focus on track and engineering equipment, survival factors and passenger railcar crashworthiness. Amtrak estimated damage at $22 million.
Lawsuits have been filed against Amtrak and BNSF Railway on behalf of 24 passengers and the families of those who died.