How can this happen? This is a question being asked around the nation today after two railroad workers were struck and killed by a train. Two CSX railroad employees were struck and killed by an Amtrak train on Tuesday night. The two victims were hit by the train after stepping onto the tracks outside Washington D.C.’s very busy Union Station.
The two railroad workers were onboard a CSX freight train approaching Union Station when an alert indicated that something was wrong with the train. This alert instructed the crew to check a specified area of the train, which is what the two victims were attempting to do when they were hit by an Amtrak train and killed instantly.
From what the alert indicated, there was a likely abnormality in the wheels of the CSX train, which needed to be addressed immediately by the crew. Passengers on board the Amtrak train told reporters they heard the train’s horn blow and about three seconds later they heard a “clunking sound.”
Walter Ducan, who was traveling with his wife on the Amtrak train, said that his wife thought something hit the outside of the window she was sitting next to, according to NBC News. It was just minutes before midnight when first responders and emergency personnel were called to the accident. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
The CSX workers had stepped onto a track when exiting their freight train, which was an active Amtrak rail for passenger trains. The victims were struck and killed near the 1200 block of New York Avenue NE. The Amtrak train had 121 passengers aboard at the time. There is not information on how many crew members were on board.
The original statement indicated that the train hit two trespassers. This is what an Amtrak spokesman reported early on, but it was the CSX spokesman who later released the information that the two victims were CSX railroad workers. The names of the victims have not been released out of respect to the family members, according to USA Today.
The Amtrak 175 train travels from Boston up the coast to New York and then on to Washington D.C. and is a popular commuter line. Due to the ongoing investigation, the morning service was suspended for “several hours” from Philadelphia to D.C., according to NBC News. The CSX train that the two victims had been riding had departed from Baltimore.
By Wednesday afternoon, the service was up and running again but until further notice, a 10 mph speed limit was put in place for the trains. Rail service for MARC commuter trains was suspended on the Penn and Camden lines this morning, but a report from MARC indicated that the trains will operate at full service starting in the afternoon on Wednesday.
Penn line commuters may encounter delays, but the Camden lines should run on schedule, reported MARC. Metrorail will honor MARC tickets on Wednesday afternoon, according to NBC News.
The area where the accident happened has two tracks for CSX trains and two tracks that are used by Amtrak’s passenger trains. According to reports, the investigators were able to view video footage of the accident as part of the investigation.
[Featured Image by Molly Riley/AP Images]