Statement from Amtrak CEO on Empire Builder derailment

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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Amtrak’s Empire Builder derailed on Saturday, Sept. 25. (Westbound Amtrak Crescent pictured)
David C. Lester

One of Amtrak's most popular long-distance trains has derailed.

RT&S Editor-in Chief reported earlier today on the derailment of Amtrak’s long distance train called the Empire Builder. You can read his report here.

Amtrak president Bill Flynn released the following statement shortly after the accident:

Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn

“We are in mourning today for the people who lost their lives due to the derailment of the Empire Builder train Saturday, near Joplin, Montana, on the BNSF Railway, as well as the many others who were injured.  We have no words that can adequately express our sorrow for those who lost a loved one or who were hurt in this horrible event.  They are in our thoughts and prayers.

“We are fully cooperating with the investigation, working closely with National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Railroad Administration, local law enforcement and response agencies.  We share the sense of urgency to understand why the accident happened; however, until the investigation is complete, we will not comment further on the accident itself.  The NTSB will identify the cause or causes of this accident, and Amtrak commits to taking appropriate actions to prevent a similar accident in the future.

“Amtrak’s immediate and sustained focus is on doing everything we can to help our passengers and crew, especially the families of those who were injured or died, at this painful and difficult time.  Our Incident Response Team has been initiated.  We have sent emergency personnel and Amtrak leadership to the scene to help support our passengers, our employees and their families with their needs.  Individuals with questions about their family and friends aboard this train should call 800-523-9101.  We have also established a Family Assistance Center in Great Falls, MT, and we will have family assistance liaisons at that site to reach out to those injured and their families to make sure they get what they need.  We have dispatched nurse case managers to support those hospitalized.  As soon as Amtrak has permission, we will access the accident site to retrieve the personal effects of our passengers and crew.  

“We want to extend our deep gratitude and sincere appreciation to the Joplin and greater Liberty County communities and other Montana counties and their selfless first responders, hospital staff and law enforcement for their immediate and ongoing help to support of all those aboard the Empire Builder for responding with such urgency, compassion and patience.”

Bill Flynn

Amtrak Chief Executive Officer

Categories: Ballast, Ties, Rail, Intercity, Passenger, Railroad News, Safety/Training, Track Structure
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