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Locomotive derails on Seattle-bound Amtrak train; rail line shut down for hours

Passengers were stuck or delayed on three Amtrak Cascades trains Sunday after the locomotive on one train derailed. No one was hurt.

The locomotive on train 502 heading northbound from Portland to Seattle with 235 passengers aboard lost contact with the rails at about 12:05 p.m. The locomotive remained upright, and none of 12 cars on the train were pulled off the track.

Passengers began boarding buses to Seattle at about 1 p.m., said Chelsea Kopta, spokeswoman for Amtrak. The derailment happened in the area of 7300 Fun Center Way.

Two later Amtrack Cascades trains, the 506 northbound from Eugene with 196 passengers and 507 southbound from Seattle with 210 passengers, were also delayed by the derailment.

Passengers on those trains waited one and a half to two hours to board buses to their destinations because of a shortage of buses, Kopta said.

The Tukwila Office of Emergency Management reported that there was no visible damage to the cars on train 502, and no sign of fuel leaking from the train, which was traveling at 5 mph or less.

The derailment disrupted traffic on the busiest rail line in the state, which was re-opened 5:10 p.m. Sunday.

The cause is under investigation, Kopta said.

BNSF dispatches train traffic on the line, which it also owns and maintains. Gus Melonas, spokesman for BNSF, said 17 trains were held up by the incident. Amtrak was still working late Sunday afternoon to reopen traffic on the track “as safely and efficiently as possible,” Kopta said.

The mainline between Portland and Seattle sees at least 60 trains a day, including Amtrak passenger trains, Sounder commuter trains and BNSF freight trains.

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