Passengers on an Amtrak train bound from Chicago to Seattle had to take buses the last 30 miles of their trip following a minor derailment this morning caused by a landslide, railroad spokesmen said.
None of the 86 passengers or 11 crew members on the Empire Builder that left Chicago on Friday were injured when the last three cars on the train had their wheels lose contact with the tracks about 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time today near Everett, Wash., said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari.
Amtrak service on the affected stretch of track, between Everett and Seattle, is suspended, likely until Tuesday morning, a statement from Amtrak said this afternoon. In addition to the Empire Builder, Amtrak Cascades service also runs along the line.
The derailment took place when a 30-foot-long debris pile, including earth, trees and rocks, fell about 100 feet onto BNSF Railway tracks just as the train was passing, derailing a dining car and two passenger cars, said BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas. The derailment took place about a mile north of Everett, Melonas said.
The train was briefly delayed while all passengers moved to the front cars of the train, and passengers were then transferred to buses to reach Seattle, about 30 miles from the site of the incident, Magliari said.
BNSF crews are working to clear the debris and repair the track, Melonas said. Another mainline track is still functioning, he said. This has been among the top 10 years for landslides in the Seattle area since 1914, with more than 200 slides in the Seattle-Everett rail corridor, Melonas said.