An Amtrak train making its first run on a new route derailed near Tacoma Monday morning, spilling train cars onto a busy interstate. A spokesman for the Pierce County sheriff's office initially reported six fatalities, all of them train passengers, per the Seattle Times. Officials later put the number of confirmed dead at three. Scores more were injured, including motorists. KOMO reports that nearly 80 people were taken to local hospitals, and some are in critical condition. The train derailed just before 8am local time Monday about 40 miles south of Seattle, closing all southbound lanes of Interstate 5, per the AP. The Washington Post reports 13 cars left the track. The cause remains under investigation. More on the accident:
- The route: Train 501 derailed on its inaugural run on a new route, having left Seattle for Portland at 6am; the trip was to take about 3.5 hours. The train was making use of a new bypass, and a local mayor had warned earlier this month about potential accidents, as recounted in this story at KOMO, though the AP notes Don Anderson suggested the most vulnerable points involved crossings where a train could strike a car or passenger. The bypass was intended to help trains avoid slow curves and single-track tunnels along the previous route.