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Traffic chaos

Cars were backed up as the roads were blocked following the accident. (Rex)

In pictures: Washington train derailment causes chaos on roads as reports suggest it went 80mph into 30mph zone

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

The death toll in the Washington train derailment has been revised down to three, as authorities investigate reports it went 80mph into a bend.

There were 80 passengers and five on duty crew when the train derailed south of Seattle and pulled 13 cars off the tracks, spilling some of its cars onto the road below.

The train was making the first run along a faster new route and it was said to be going at 81.1mph about a quarter of a mile from the point where it derailed, where the speed limit is significantly lower.

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A track chart prepared by the Washington State Department of Transportation shows the maximum speed drops from 79mph to 30mph for passenger trains just before the tracks curve to cross Interstate 5, which is where the train went off the tracks.

It was not clear how fast the train was moving at the precise moment when it derailed but investigators remain at the scene while they try to determine the cause of the accident.

The train was making the inaugural run on the new route as part of a £134 million project designed to speed up service by removing passenger trains from a route that is bogged down by curves, single-track tunnels and freight traffic.