3 cars on Amtrak train with 311 passengers derail, none hurt
Three cars on an Amtrak train carrying more than 300 people from Miami to New York derailed in snowy Savannah, Georgia, in the aftermath of a brutal winter storm but no injuries were reported, authorities said early Thursday.
Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said the Silver Meteor train No. 98 was backing slowly into the Savannah station about 10 p.m. Wednesday — hours after the storm clobbered the Southeast coast — when two sleeper cars and a baggage car derailed.
"All three cars — a baggage car and two sleeper cars — are fully upright," Abrams said in an email early Thursday to The Associated Press.
He said there were 311 passengers on board, in addition to crew, but he had no reports of anyone hurt.
Abrams' statement said the main train was to continue its journey north though some of the sleeping car passengers had to be put aboard a different train.
He didn't say what caused the three-car derailment, and the statement also gave no immediate indication whether the fierce storm that coated Savannah with a rare snowfall Wednesday was any factor.
"We are looking into that," a representative told NBC News when asked whether the derailment was linked to the weather.
The National Weather Service said Savannah's first measurable snowfall since February 2010 was recorded Wednesday in the normally balmy Southern City at 1.2 inches (3 centimeters). It was the first snow in Savannah that exceeded an inch (2.5 centimeters) in 28 years.
News footage from the site showed police and other emergency vehicles — their lights flashing — crunching over snowy, ice-shrouded roads near tracks where the cars had derailed. Workers in neon safety vests, their frosty breath rising in the bitter cold air, converged at the scene.
Passenger Joel Potischman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he boarded the train early in the day in Delray Beach, Fla., to head home to Brooklyn, New York. He said the train was headed north amid winter scenes of snow and ice from the storm that had just clobbered the normally mild Southeast city.
Another passenger, Mike Zevon, told the newspaper that it was the last three cars derailed.
Abrams' statement didn't elaborate on how many cars were in the formation and conditions with the weather or the tracks at the time.