Train strikes, kills Amtrak employee

August 21, 2008|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN REPORTER

An Amtrak employee was struck and fatally injured yesterday morning by an Acela train minutes after it left Union Station in Washington on its way to New York City, an Amtrak spokeswoman said.

The incident happened at 5:08 a.m. north of the New Carrollton station, and Amtrak immediately shut down the train lines. Trains were delayed for more than two hours, until Amtrak was able to open one of four rail lines about 7 a.m.

Karina Romero, the Amtrak spokeswoman, said the male employee was airlifted to an area hospital by the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department.

Romero said it was "not unusual" for Amtrak employees to be working on the track, but she didn't know exactly what he was doing at the time he was struck. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The man's name was not available and authorities were investigating the circumstances that led to his death, she said.

"We don't know why. That will be part of the investigation," she said. She said Amtrak's police department is interviewing employees and members of the train crew.

Romero said that passengers on Acela train 2150, which struck the employee, sat on the train until about 7:30 a.m., when they were transferred to another train. She said six other Amtrak trains were delayed from 45 minutes to 2 hours, 19 minutes.

Jawauna Greene, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transit Administration, said the incident forced the cancellation of its MARC service on the Penn Line yesterday morning. She said MARC was able to resume operations after 8:30 a.m.

Sun reporter Michael Dresser contributed to this report.

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