“Expect to see trains going 79 mph through Tacoma, Lakewood and DuPont soon,” reads the headline in the January 7 Tacoma News Tribune.
“We have demonstrated, I think, to them (Pierce County communities) and everyone else that all of the necessary safety measures that Amtrak is expected to take before this testing have been fully submitted and reviewed and approved,” Rogoff (Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff) said.
Safety measures like what?
Since that fateful day when Amtrak left the track on its inaugural run December 18, 2017 – the train having failed to slow before the curve just south of Tillicum, spilling passenger cars onto I-5 killing three and injuring more than 70 – Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Amtrak and Sound Transit say they “have taken these recommendations seriously.”
Following a 17-month investigation of the derailment, conclusions – and consequent changes – were handed down by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Though “reduced travel time” has always been one of the primary goals behind the $165.3 million Point Defiance Bypass project, getting there faster now will mean trains will at least approach that curve and the bridge slower.
According to WSDOT’s website, “Sound Transit implemented graduated speed restrictions approaching the curve where the derailment occurred, going from 79 mph to 50 mph to 30 mph, with more speed limit signage prior to each incremental decrease.”
“Expanded crew training, redesigned safety training courses” and less fragile train sets are to be purchased to protect passengers in the event of another disaster.