Amtrak train photo via  [Public Domain] Wikimedia Commons
Amtrak train photo via [Public Domain] Wikimedia Commons

Eight cars of a Chicago-bound Amtrak train that departed from Los Angeles derailed Monday about 20 miles west of Dodge City, Kansas, sending 32 passengers to hospitals, two with critical injuries.

The derailment of the Amtrak Southwest Chief Train 4 happened on track owned and maintained by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad shortly after midnight Central Time, said Craig Schulz of Amtrak corporate communications.

According to KWCH12 in Kansas, the derailment occurred at a spot where an unreported car crash on the tracks caused the engineer to slam on the brakes. A National Transportation Safety Board official at a Monday evening news conference said the “track is the focus of the investigation and the NTSB is working with local authorities in its investigation. The NTSB is expected to be on scene for about a week.”

Five of the eight derailed cars wound up on their side. There were 131 passengers and 14 crew members on board the train, which had two locomotives and nine cars, Amtrak reported.

The injured passengers were taken to hospitals in Dodge City and Garden City, and the other passengers were taken to the 4-H Recreation Center in Cimarron, Kansas.

Arrangements were being made to provide alternate transportation to their final destinations.

Of the 32 passengers taken to hospitals, 29 were discharged this morning, according to Amtrak.

Amtrak established a number — (800) 523-9101 — for passengers, as well as friends or family of those aboard the train, to call for updates.

Because of the derailment, Amtrak’s Southwest Chief Train 3 from Chicago to Los Angeles was detoured from Newton, Kansas, to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

—City News Service

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