A mudslide is being blamed for the derailment of the last three cars on a southbound Amtrak train a mile south of Everett at 8:50 a.m. today. No one was hurt.
Mud, rocks and trees slid 100 feet down a 200-foot cliff, striking the train and causing the last three cars to lean to one side, said BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas.
The slide – which was described as 15-feet high and 30-feet wide – prompted BNSF to issue a 48-hour moratorium on passenger trains on the railway’s double main line. Freight trains will be able to get through on the adjacent line today and resume travel on the line where the Amtrak train was derailed sometime tomorrow, Melonas said. A crane will be brought in to remove debris on the tracks and right the listing train cars this afternoon, Melonas said. About a quarter mile of track was damaged.
The rest of the train, the Empire Builder from Chicago, continued toward Seattle. An Amtrak spokesman in Chicago said the passengers on the derailed cars were moved to other cars. They were being bused to Seattle from Mukilteo, according to Amtrak employees in Seattle.
The train behind the Empire Builder, coming from Vancouver, could not get through, and those passengers were being bused from somewhere north to Seattle. Those continuing on can take an afternoon train from Seattle to Portland.
The derailment happened about a quarter mile north of Howarth Park, one mile south of Everett, where rail employees are working on the remaining three cars, two of which appear to be derailed.
Marc Magliari, an Amtrak spokesman in Chicago, said the train left Chicago en route to Seattle at 2:15 p.m. Friday, Chicago time. He couldn’t say how many passengers and crew members were on board at the time of the derailment, but called the derailment “a relatively low speed event.” The mudslide will affect trains between Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle and Amtrak is now working on a service plan, he said. The Sounder commuter train operated by Sound Transit will also be affected.