SEVERAL cars on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief train from Los Angeles to Chicago with 128 passengers and 14 crew on board derailed early on Monday about 20 miles west of Dodge City, Kansas, Amtrak said.
The train company said initial reports were that there were no life-threatening injuries to people on board. Approximately 11 passengers has been taken to Western Plains Hospital in Dodge City, with all other passengers transported to a local recreation center in Cimarron before later being provided alternate transportation to their final destination.
Local emergency services were at the scene of the accident, which occurred on track owned by BNSF, according to Amtrak.
Amtrak said the derailment of the train, Southwest Chief Train 4 with two locomotives and nine cars, occurred just after midnight CDT.
Local media reported that five cars of the Amtrak passenger train derailed. Images from the scene on media web sites showed cars either on their side or leaning precariously. The derailment forced the closure of U.S. Highway 50.
Passenger Daniel Szczerba posted pictures on Twitter showing several cars lying on their side and another leaning over. Szczerba, who wrote on Twitter that he was uninjured, also posted a short video showing the emergency response, with what appeared to be passengers or locals milling near the derailed cars.
The mother of one passenger told local television that her daughter, who was on board, was helped out of a window after the derailment, which followed a period of the train shaking at about 75 miles per hour.
Amtrak said it was working working with BNSF to investigate the cause of the derailment.
It said its Southwest Chief Train 3, operating from Chicago to Los Angeles, would detour from Newton, Kansas to Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Monday, with alternate transportation being arranged.
In one of Amtrak’s most deadly recent accidents, eight people were killed last May when a New York-bound train derailed in Philadelphia. Forty-three others were seriously injured in the accident when the train entered a curve at more than twice the recommended speed of 50 MPH, investigators found.