Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

Three Confirmed Killed, Over Fifty Seriously Injured as Amtrak Train Derails in Washington State

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(DuPont, Washington — December 18, 2017)

Speculation was focusing on an Amtrak inaugural run’s possible over speed operation Monday after the launch of Amtrak’s Cascade passenger train ran off the rails at about 7:50 A.M., PST.  The train, loaded with 78 passengers and five crew members, derailed its lead locomotive and 14 cars onto Interstate 5 just south of Tacoma, WA, killing at least 3 (down from an earlier count of 6) and sending over 50 to four area hospitals in Pierce and Thurston Counties.

The wreck, which tossed several of the train’s coaches onto vehicular traffic and damaged, but did not cause significant injuries to the occupants of several trucks and autos on the busy rush hour highway, came as the Portland, OR-bound train entered a curve where speed should have been reduced to 30 mph from 79 mph, and which was tracked by an independent monitoring service at 81.1 mph.

Amtrak train 501 was using a new bypass route that had been given a track upgrade to shave 10 minutes off its Seattle-to-Portland operation, taking the route off Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks and placing it on tracks owned and operated by the agency which runs the Seattle/Tacoma area’s “Sounder” rail commute service  (Sound Transit) .  Monday’s trip was the first revenue run across what is known as the Point Defiance Bypass using former BNSF rails.   Dignitaries aboard a Friday press run of a train using the bypass reported that earlier train had slowed as it approached the I-5 overpass.

Longwood, WA Mayor Don Anderson had been vocally critical of the route switch, saying “Come back when there is that accident, and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements, or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because the project was never needed and it endangers our citizens,” he had told a forum of WDOT members, according to KATU-TV, Channel 2’s Joel Moreno.  However, the mayor’s prophetic words were aimed at his fear of potential accidents involving vehicular occupants and pedestrians along the urban rail corridor.



Railroad News


Train crash cases are unique and complex with many different potential pitfalls, such as federal preemption. Anytime I get hired or even get a call from a train crash victim, my very first call is to Nathan’s firm. Nathan’s knowledge and experience in handling and trying cases against these litigation savvy railroad companies gives me the confidence to know that the clients and cases I refer to him are getting the best of the best.

James Perrin Lubbock, Texas

I have had the opportunity to work as co-counsel with Nathan on several railroad crossing accidents cases. In each case, Nathan always possessed an incredible knowledge of the law and the facts, possessed a great talent for aggressive - strategic legal planning and trial tactics while, at the same time, displaying great skill as an effective negotiator. I would recommend him to anyone without hesitation.

Scott McCluen Harriman, Tennessee

Nathan Karlin has my strongest endorsement in the field of railroad crossing cases and personal injury law. I had the pleasure of working with Nathan in a complex railroad personal injury case. I was impressed by Nathan’s knowledge, his work ethic, and his dedication to the client. I look forward to working with Nathan on future injury matters. I am also aware firsthand that he has obtained excellent trial and settlement results in numerous cases involving members of the public harmed by railroad companies.

Joseph M. Miller Mandeville, Louisiana

Nathan is a warrior fighting the railroads. As a fellow personal injury lawyer, I have constantly been impressed with his depth of knowledge and his capabilities from case to case. I’d take him into battle with me any day against the biggest railroads and insurance companies on the planet.

Jon C. Clark Austin, Texas

Bob Pottroff has fought for the victims of the railroads’ callous disregard for safety more than any other attorney that I know. I should know because I am currently Chair-elect of the Railroad Section of ATLA.

Robert Schuetze Boulder, Colorado

Mr. Pottroff has shaken the rail industry to its very roots. Settlements are now more common as a result of the way he has exposed the industry’s wrongdoing.

Mike Easley Arkansas

Bob Pottroff’s work in railroad safety law is unmatched and he has been the source of great advice and phenomenal creativity.

Roger Brown Jefferson City, Missouri

In addition to his substantive contributions to railroad grade crossing safety, I have personally observed his untiring efforts and contributions to improving the integrity of the legal system.

Elizabeth Hardy Lake Charles, Louisiana

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8