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Amtrak Train Crash Philadelphia

Source: Win McNamee / Getty


“I’ve never seen destruction like this.” Those were the words of Mayor Nutter while in the midst of one of the more grim tasks mayors have to perform; informing his city about a sudden deadly tragedy.

Late Tuesday night, Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 derailed in Philadelphia, killing at least 6 and injuring 146 people. Five died at the scene with the sixth victim passing away at Temple Hospital. Eight people are said to be in critical conditionThe train was carrying approximately 238 passengers and 5 crew members. Several cars went off the tracks, some overturning, with one car reportedly ending up perpendicular to the ground. The accident occurred around 9:30pm when the train, enroute from Washington D.C. to New York, went off the rails rounding a curve at Wheatsheaf Lane in the Port Richmond section. Incidentally, this was the same location where a similar accident took place back in 1942.

Philadelphia is crisscrossed with tracks for various Amtrak and Septa Regional lines, plus trolleys and subway-elevated trains. We’re all used to seeing trains on bridges, at and below ground level, but an accident of this magnitude makes us realize how close disaster can really be. At this writing, rescue crews are still on the scene searching the mangled wreckage for victims, so the toll of killed and injured could rise. In addition, train traffic all along the Northeast Corridor was halted for hours, with modified service resuming Wednesday. There will be no Amtrak service between New York and Philadelphia, but New Jersey Transit will honor Amtrak tickets between NY City and Trenton.

The cause of the accident is not yet knows, but is already under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Administration.