Around 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 13, Amtrak’s “Northeast Regional Train 188” jumped the tracks at the Frankford Junction near Port Richmond, Philadelphia. The train, on a Washington to New York route, was transporting 238 passengers at the time it derailed.
As of 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, six people have died and more than 150 injured people have been sent to regional medical centers.
This was not the first derailment near this particular junction: In 1943, 79 people died and 117 people were injured in what would be later called “American’s deadliest train accident” and “Pennsylvania’s Worst Railroad Disaster” when Pennsylvania Railroad’s “Congressional Limited” crashed.
Although an investigation into last night’s crash is still on-going, Dr. Jennifer Walden and numerous other experts believe that the train derailed because the tracks are in poor shape. This particular section of track is heavily used by non-passenger trains. The constant traffic and heavy cargo transported by the commercial trains wears down the tracks much faster than passenger trains alone. These lines are also extremely old have not been fully overhauled in decades. Instead, they have been patched repeatedly in sections.
The Federal Railroad Administration has noted that this is Amtrak’s ninth accident this year already.
This derailment is so bad that the train cars were twisted as they flew off the tracks. Some people have compared their appearance to tinfoil. Many passengers were thrown about until the cars stopped moving.