fall_banner.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Regional News

Cause of last month's Amtrak derailment remains under investigation

amtrak montana NTSB.jpg
NTSB
/
File photo
National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg observes the scene of the Amtrak derailment in northern Montana last month.

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.