It was 5 am on December 18th when an Amtrak train bound to Portland from Seattle started journeying.
The train derailed and fell over a bridge in the city of DuPont killing 3 people and injuring more than 70.
The relatively new hired train engineer was assigned to be the conductor on that train on its very first new journey taking a new route which was supposed to shave 10 minutes off the trip compared to the old route.
The investigation at the time concluded that the crash took place as the engineer did not notice the “Reduce Speed Sign” which was in place 2 miles before the curve where the train derailed.
The train was traveling at 80 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour max speed limit zone.
According to a source, the new 55 year old engineer was assigned to operate the inaugural journey without ever training on that route, so the signs and tracks were all new to him.
The reason, as the source explained, why an experienced engineer was not assigned to operate that first journey was because it was an early shift and those experienced engineers follow their schedules they signed for in their contracts.
So operating a 5 am shift by an experienced engineer would have been a breach of agreement with Amtrak.
The newer engineers hired by Amtrak have not done a demo or further training in the new route which resulted in the human error by not noticing the sign to slow down before the curve.
Amtrak in Washington owns only two trains, the other three are owned by WSDOT, according to a source.
The new route is now closed until June to carry out the rebuilding of the damage.
And of course all that money will come out from the tax payers pockets.