Close Menu

Amtrak Derailment Injures Four Passengers

(Spartanburg, South Carolina – November 25, 2013)

Regardless of whether it was termed a “derailment” that resulted in 4 of the 218 passengers on board being sent to local Spartanburg, SC hospitals for various non-life threatening injuries early Monday morning, or that two locomotives and seven of the “Southern Crescent’s” passenger cars merely “lost contact with the tracks,” leaving the train “disabled” depends upon which source is supplying the information.  But, the train did leave the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks over which it was traveling between New Orleans, LA and New York, NY shortly after midnight today.

Spartanburg County Deputy Fire Marshal Tony Barnett informed the news media that the cars were, indeed, derailed, but all were upright and none overturned, while Amtrak later e-mailed news sources using the obviously softer language, designed to attract less media interest.

Spartanburg County Deputy Fire Marshal Tony Barnett informed the news media that the cars were, indeed, derailed, but all were upright and none overturned, while Amtrak later e-mailed news sources using the obviously softer language, designed to attract less media interest.

For those onaboard, it was an unpleasant experience. Passenger Barbara Gray told WHNS-TV, Fox Network affiliate Channel 21 of Greenville, SC that “The train started to buck, started to twist. Some of us were falling out of our chairs (seats).”

Carrie Lambert, a passenger from Atlanta, GA, said she felt the car she was aboard begin to sway, and then tilt. “The car felt like it was about to flip over,” she recalled. “I was holding on to my brother for dear life. Bags went everywhere. It was crazy – really scary!”

The accident scene was about six miles west of Spartanburg in a semi-rural area, and responding agencies included railroad, law enforcement, medical and emergency personnel. Due to outside temperatures being in the sub-freezing 20’s, Amtrak’s e-mailed statement said that “Heating, lighting and other systems were quickly re-established aboard the train, with meals and other refreshments provided to the passengers.”

 

But Amtrak’s claims were countered by passenger Lambert, who related by cell phone that the train, indeed, had electricity, but only two cars had heat as passengers waited on board, sitting in the dark and waiting for help that for some didn’t come until 9:00 A.M., nearly nine hours after the accident.  “We’re just sitting in the middle of the woods,” she related.

Busses arrived at about 7:00 A.M. to ferry the passengers either to other Amtrak trains or to their final destinations.