Decoupling of an American high-speed passenger train in Maryland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An Amtrak high-speed train carrying more than 50 people uncoupled on Tuesday as it traveled north in Maryland, causing no injuries but underscoring concerns about the passenger carrier’s safety record American after a series of accidents.
Two cars on a northbound Acela Express train en route to Boston from Washington separated near Havre de Grace, about 80 miles north of Baltimore, at 6:40 a.m.
“If you’re not on Amtrak 2150 this morning boy, you’re really missing something,” passenger Andrew Exum tweeted. “Two cars separated, and sparks and smoke went everywhere.”
The train encountered “a mechanical problem” and two of the carriages separated, the public passenger service said in a statement without providing details. He did not specify how many cars were drawn.
The cause was being investigated and other Acela trains were being inspected to prevent a similar incident, Amtrak said.
About 52 passengers were on the train at the time of the decoupling, and they were transferred to another train, Amtrak said. The carrier didn’t say how fast the Acela travels, but the service can reach speeds of 150 miles per hour (240 km/h).
Amtrak’s safety performance is under intense scrutiny after a number of fatal incidents. In the most recent, an Amtrak train rammed into a freight train parked on a South Carolina siding on Sunday, killing two people and injuring more than 100.
Two recent Amtrak accidents involved vehicles bypassing gates and being hit by trains. One such incident occurred last week when a chartered train carrying U.S. Republican lawmakers hit a garbage truck in Virginia, killing a person in the truck.
Editing by Frank McGurty and Peter Cooney