NC officials to review Amtrak derailment as state considers higher-speed rail


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina Department of Transportation will review the results of the investigation into Monday’s deadly train derailment in Washington to determine if any additional safety measures need to be taken, as the state looks to add more higher-speed rail options.

The derailment of an Amtrak passenger train in Washington killed at least three people and injured more than 100, according to DuPont, Washington Fire Chief Larry Creekmore.

The train was on its first trip on a new route aimed at providing faster service for customers.

As the population in the Southeast grows, leaders of the N.C. Department of Transportation want to bring higher-speed rail to the state to alleviate congestion on highways and better connect major cities.

“Whenever you introduce more trains, be they freight or passenger on the railroad, you obviously want the safest situation you can have out there,” said Allan Paul, acting director of the NC DOT’s rail division.

One phase of the Southeast Corridor project would connect Raleigh to Richmond, Virginia, with trains that could travel at up to 110 miles per hour. The project would cut travel time by about 90 minutes.

The project would cost about $4 billion. It’s unclear from where the funding would come, Paul said.

The state received a $520 million grant in 2010 through the federal stimulus program which funded improvements between Charlotte and Raleigh.

That included upgrades to 40 crossings to prevent vehicles from traveling over tracks, such as on Morrisville Parkway near Crabtree Crossing Parkway. The work concluded earlier this year.

The state will add an additional passenger train round trip from Raleigh to Charlotte in May 2018.

“I want to make sure that they engineer it properly and make sure that they do a test run and make sure they have the right regulations and safety points in place,” said James Campbell, as he prepared to board a train in Cary.

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