Investigation underway after Amtrak train derails near Savannah - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Investigation underway after Amtrak train derails near Savannah Train Station

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

An Amtrak train with passengers on board derailed near the Savannah Station on Seaboard Coastline Drive Wednesday night. 

According to Amtrak officials, at approximately 10 p.m., the Silver Meteor train #98 traveling from Miami to New York had three cars derail while backing at a slow speed into the Savannah Station.

One passenger said they waited on the train for hours. We're told some switches on the train track had frozen, causing them to have to stop. When they tried to reverse the train, luggage compartments on the back derailed but remained upright. 

Workers were able to get the train back up and running after detaching them around 3 a.m., but passengers say they ran into problems soon after. 

"That's all I want to do is to get home," one passenger said after not one, but two, delays within 24 hours. 

Another frequent traveler says she had never seen delays like this before. It even worries her for the rest of their trip. 

"I'm very frightened of flying, so I take the train, and this is the first time ever that I've been on a train that I haven't been able to get out of," she said.

"As you well know, folks down here are not used to having this kind of weather," said transportation attorney, Jeff Harris. "Tracks are usually pretty tough, but they can freeze. The switches can freeze, so if the switch freezes, a lot of times, a train won't go to the appropriate track, so that's the very likely culprit in this scenario."

There were no injuries involved in the first delay in Savannah, but then, they sat in South Carolina for eight hours. 

"They finally got them taken care of and we started riding and we rode from 3 until 4 a.m. We were told the switches were freezing."

Amtrak says the second delay came as they were standing by for other trains to pass. Their response to the excessive delays for passengers is that these trains are designed for travel whether it is for a few hours or overnight. An Amtrak official tells us that this train runs through these Savannah tracks constantly. They're still working to pinpoint an official cause for the incident. 

"You can't sue the company if it's purely weather related and they didn't do anything wrong. but if someone did something wrong that caused the accident, then the people on the train would have a right to bring a lawsuit," Harris said. 

Savannah-Chatham Metro Police, fire officials, and EMTs all responded to the scene. Thankfully, no injuries were involved. Officials tell us the derailment happened about 1,000 yards short of the station. 

Officials say there were 311 passengers on board. They are all expected to stay on the train and continue north, with some of the sleeping car passengers being transferred to a different train.

Stay with us for updates.

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