Iowa: Amtrak Derailment : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Sunday March 18 10:08 AM ET Amtrak Derailment in Iowa Kills One, Injures 90

CORNING, Iowa (Reuters) - At least nine cars on Amtrak's California Zephyr derailed in Iowa farm country late on Saturday, killing one person and injuring about 90 people, Amtrak and law enforcement authorities said on Sunday.

The train, which travels from Chicago to a destination near Oakland, California, derailed outside of Corning, Iowa, at 11:40 p.m. CST, said Amtrak spokeswoman Debbie Hare.

As the cars buckled and twisted, some skidded sideways down a 25-foot embankment adjacent to the tracks, officials said. One car twisted sideways across the tracks, while another dangled from the elevated track.

Rescue work was hampered because the cars ran off the track into farm fields where there are no real roads, said Corning police Chief Larry Drew. ``It's real country,'' he said. ``It was a mess.''

The temperature was in the 20s, he said.

One person died at the scene while several others, including a 47-year-old woman and her teen-age daughter who were seriously injured, were taken to hospitals in Omaha, Nebraska and Des Moines, Iowa. At least three people were in critical condition early Sunday, officials said.

There were 195 passengers and 13 crew on the train, said Hare. About 90 were treated at local hospitals, with one person injured critically taken by helicopter.

Amtrak was transporting the estimated 120 who were not injured to Omaha on Sunday where they will be allowed to resume their trip westward or return home, said Adams County Sheriff's Department deputy Dave Brown.

According to Amtrak, 15 cars derailed, while Drew said nine cars ran off the track. Drew said the accident occurred six miles west of Corning, Iowa, and 75 miles southwest of Des Moines.

The National Transportation Safety Board (news - web sites) will investigate the accident site.

The railroad's last crash occurred on Feb. 5 when an Amtrak passenger train struck the rear of a CSX Corp freight train carrying lumber in Syracuse, N.Y. More than 60 people were hurt.

Ten people were hurt in December when an Amtrak train derailed in Northern California.

In March, 15, 1999, 11 were killed when the Amtrak train ''The City of New Orleans'' collided with a truck carrying steel at a grade crossing near Bourbonnais, Illinois.

-- Rachel Gibson (, March 18, 2001


42 blasts occurred near crash site By WILLIAM PETROSKI Register Staff Writer 03/20/2001

The same section of railroad line in southwest Iowa where an Amtrak train derailed late Saturday was rocked by a series of blasts during World War II that were an apparent act of sabotage.

Twelve simultaneous explosions occurred at 12:20 a.m. on Sept. 14, 1942, as a westbound Burlington Zephyr passenger train passed between Brooks and Nodaway. The train, with 187 passengers, was badly damaged, but no cars left the tracks and no one was injured, according to an Associated Press article in the next day's Des Moines Register.

The area where the blasts occurred is near the site of Saturday night's California Zephyr derailment in Adams County, which killed one passenger and injured about 96.

Jerry Jenkins, a spokesman for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, which owns the tracks, said Monday that he was not familiar with the 1942 incident. He said he doubted there was any link between the blasts that occurred more than 58 years ago and Saturday night's train wreck.

"I would think it is probably a mere coincidence," Jenkins said. "Those tracks have obviously been redone since then, and they are tested continually."

John Goglia of the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday night he did not believe the tracks had been tampered with.

"I was out there today, and I didn't see anything that would indicate sabotage," he said.

Paul Gauthier, 84, former publisher of the Adams County Free Press in Corning, said Monday that the 1942 explosions were probably the work of a frustrated civilian who had sons in the military. The FBI investigated the blasts, but the case was never solved, he said.

Gauthier said that after the explosions, the Omaha World-Herald received an anonymous letter. The writer said that the bombs were a scare tactic, but that the next time they might be worse and occur in another place. The letter was signed, "I am an American."

"The gist of it was that it just boiled him to see these people driving by and enjoying the Zephyr while the boys were at war," said Gauthier.

-- Doris (, March 20, 2001.

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