Tim Kimzey / The Spartanburg Herald-Journal for AP
Emergency crews are on the scene of a train derailment in Spartanburg County, S.C. after midnight Monday morning. Several cars of the New York City-bound Amtrak Crescent with 218 people aboard went off the tracks early Monday as bags flew and jolted passengers clung to each other, authorities and passengers said.
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Several cars of the New York City-bound Amtrak Crescent carrying 218 passengers and crew members went off the tracks early Monday in South Carolina, but there were no serious injuries, authorities said.
Train 20 from New Orleans became disabled shortly after midnight when seven of the nine cars lost contact with the track but stayed upright near Spartanburg, Amtrak said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.
Spartanburg County Deputy Fire Marshal Tony Barnett said initially by telephone that the cars had derailed, but Amtrak in its later email said only that the formation had become disabled when the seven affected cars lost contact with the tracks.
"There are no cars overturned," Barnett told The Associated Press. He said he was calling from the scene about six miles south of Spartanburg in a semirural area where railway officials, firefighters, sheriffs' officials and emergency first-responders also were on hand.
Barnett said there were no serious injuries, though he added four passengers with apparently minor injuries had to be transported from the site for further evaluation as a precaution.
Amtrak said the two locomotives of Train 20 also remained upright along with the passenger cars.
"Heating, lighting and other systems were quickly re-established aboard the train, with meals and other refreshments provided to the passengers. Amtrak chartered buses to carry the passengers to their destinations," said the Amtrak statement.
Amtrak said the train had left New Orleans on Sunday morning had been due in New York City on Monday afternoon but that the service was "annulled." It added that alternative transportation was being arranged to deliver passengers to their scheduled stops between Spartanburg and New York on other Amtrak trains and buses.
Amtrak officials and Barnett said they had no immediate report on the cause.
Amtrak said the matter was being investigated by Amtrak and Norfolk Southern, which owns and controls and maintains that portion of the Crescent's route. The Federal Railroad Administration also was involved in the investigation, Amtrak added.
— The Associated Press
First published November 25 2013, 3:59 AM