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Posted: January 04, 2018

Amtrak train derails in Savannah with more than 300 passengers on board

FILE PHOTO: An Amtrak train is seen as people board at the Miami station on May 24, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO: An Amtrak train is seen as people board at the Miami station on May 24, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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By Ellen Eldridge, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

SAVANNAH, Ga. —

Three cars on an Amtrak train with more than 300 passengers on board derailed while backing into the station in Savannah, Georgia, on Wednesday night, officials said.

The Silver Meteor train No. 98 was traveling from Miami to New York when the incident happened about 10 p.m. Wednesday, Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said.

“All three cars — a baggage car and two sleeper cars — are fully upright,” Abrams said.

Passenger Joel Potischman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he boarded shortly after 9 a.m. in Delray Beach, Fla., to head home to Brooklyn, New York.

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Along the way, winter storm weather affected the tracks and as the train approached the Savannah station, an announcement was made that a switch was frozen, Potischman said.

“The goal was to overshoot it and back in to the platform,” he said.

Instead, the switch apparently opened, causing the cars at the back of the train to derail.

Mike Zevon, another passenger, told the AJC the last three cars derailed.

Zevon took a photo from where he was seated, saying the 9813 car was about 4 feet to the left of where it should have been from his view.

“The last car is the baggage car and the other two are sleepers,” Zevon said. “No one is injured as of now. Last announcement said they were removing passengers who were ticketed for Savannah and they were still working on a plan to get us up north as safely as possible.”

There are about 311 passengers on board, Abrams said, and there were no reports of injuries to passengers or crew.

“The train is expected to continue north, with some of the sleeping car passengers being transferred to a different train,” Abrams said.

Potischman said people weren’t panicking. 

“Things are calm,” he said. “We’re in the car; they’ve not made any announcements about evacuating.”

Potischman said he assumes he’ll be late getting to Brooklyn, but isn’t worried.

“We’re holding tight,” he said.


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