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Report: Truck damaged tracks at site of Cimarron Amtrak derailment

Emergency personnel work on a train that derailed near Dodge City on March 14. The train was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago early Monday when it derailed just after midnight.
Emergency personnel work on a train that derailed near Dodge City on March 14. The train was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago early Monday when it derailed just after midnight. Associated Press

A feed truck knocked the track out of alignment where an Amtrak train derailed in western Kansas last month, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB released a preliminary report this week on the March 14 derailment in Cimarron that injured 28 passengers.

The report linked tires on a truck from Cimarron Crossing Feeders, LLC to damage on the railroad that appears to have caused the derailment.

The accident left six train cars derailed, four of which fell sideways. The train carried 130 passengers and 14 crew members.

130 Total passengers on board during the derailment

14 Total crew members on board during the derailment

28 Passengers injured from the derailment

According to the report, investigators matched tires on a 2004 Kenworth truck owned by Cimarron Crossing Feeders LLC to tire impressions on the scene.

The truck hauls flaked corn – a type of cattle feed – to feed bins. The report showed photos of flaked corn found at the scene of the damaged railroad tracks.

The full investigation will likely take 12 to 18 months, the NTSB said.

Other highlights from the report:

▪ The Amtrak derailed at 12:02 a.m.

▪ The train was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago.

▪ It consisted of 10 cars and two locomotives.

▪ Two cars derailed upright, and the last four cars derailed on their sides.

▪ Twenty-eight passengers were injured and went to area hospitals.

▪ Damages were estimated at more than $1.4 million.

▪ National Transportation Safety Board investigators found fresh damage to the center part of the railroad tracks at mile post 373.07.

▪ Investigators also found flaked corn and fresh tire tracks perpendicular to the railroad.

▪ The point of derailment was 25 feet beyond the damaged track.

▪ Forward-facing video from the lead locomotive showed abnormal track immediately before the derailment.

▪ Investigators examined the tire treads of the truck and matched them with the tire track patterns found at the mile marker of railroad damage.

▪ The maximum speed on the section of track where the train derailed is 60 mph for passenger trains. The train was traveling at 60 mph when the emergency brakes were applied.

By Oliver Morrison

By Oliver Morrison

Walter Sanders, a passenger of the derailed Amtrak, said he heard clicks from the train tracks before the cars moved side-to-side and then tipped over. “This older woman just flew straight past me and my sister and hit the window – passed out,” he

Contributing: Curtis Tate of McClatchy’s Washington Bureau

Gabriella Dunn: 316-268-6400, @gabriella_dunn

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