A high-speed Amtrak train broke apart Tuesday morning while travelling at 125 miles per hour on its route from Washington, D.C. to Boston.
The Acela Express train 2150 encountered a mechanical failure at around 6:40 a.m. near Havre de Grace, Maryland. Two of the train’s cars separated and were left held together only by their air hoses. The problem caused sparks to fly out as the train jerked wildly.
There were 52 passengers onboard the train, but there were no reports of any injuries to the customers or the train’s crew. The passengers were transferred to Northeast Regional Train 180 after the incident.
“It felt almost like we were dragging something,” said 39-year old Andrew Exum, a journalist who lives in the Washington area and works in New York. “I looked out the window and saw a shower of sparks coming out the side of the train.” Soon after, the train stopped, and Amtrak personnel rushed forward to attend to the mechanical problem.
The Acela train consisted of eight cars, five of which were passenger cars. The train split apart in an area where passengers can move between cars.
“If someone would’ve been passing from one car to another potentially they could’ve have fallen through that separation,” said Mark Rosenker, the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
The Acela line is Amtrak’s high-speed business-class line that serves the Northeast Corridor, which is Amtrak’s busiest stretch. The company has said that it is inspecting every Acela trainset and that precautionary measures will be taken to prevent further incidents from happening.
The incident is just the latest in the string of incidents that have plagued Amtrak in recent weeks. It is the third wreck in just one week and the fourth in two months. On Sunday, an Amtrak train collided with a parked freight train in South Carolina, killing two and injuring over a hundred people.