OLYMPIA – New requirements to prevent another tragedy like the Amtrak derailment in 2017 near DuPont could become law after a bill was passed by the House today. State Representative Mari Leavitt, D-University Place, sponsored House Bill 2287 as a call to action for improved rail safety. The legislation passed the House 92-4 and requires recommendations from a consultant on best practices in rail safety governance to be sent to the House and Senate transportation committees by January 6, 2021.
“When the Amtrak derailment took the lives of three train passengers, it was a wake-up call to the state that we need to require more from federal, state, and local agencies. We need to review all the options and best practices to better address how our rail operates, so that this kind of tragedy never happens again,” said Leavitt after the bill passed out of the House. “We owe this to the families of Washington to ensure all railways are safe.”
On December 18,2017, the Point Defiance Bypass suffered a train derailment on the Amtrak Cascades line. The derailment resulted in the deaths of three passengers and injuries to many others. In its accident report, the National Transportation Safety Board found an absence of clearly defined roles and responsibilities among the local and state agencies involved in operation of the line, rail, and trains. HB 2287 would require consultation with the NTSB and other agencies as it develops finding and recommendations to the Legislature.