ARCHIVES: Amtrak passenger train derails April 23, 1990; 83 were hurt

2022-05-14 20:27:54 By : Ms. yuge Xiao

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A 19-car Amtrak passenger train derailed April 23, 1990, injuring 83 of the 400 people aboard.

Eyewitnesses counted as many as nine cars off the track.

″It made a hell of a noise and then all kind of dust started flying,″ Robert Franklin said 32 years ago just after the accident happened.

″It was just one big, loud bang. Kind of like a clankety, clang,″ said his wife, Patricia.

The train was carrying 394 passengers and about 20 crew members, said Debbie Hare, an Amtrak spokeswoman in Chicago.

The cars began to run off the track just before it reached a crossing on the southern edge of this town of 525 residents, 90 miles southeast of Des Moines.

The train had 12 passenger cars, four baggage cars and three locomotives, said Sue Martin, an Amtrak spokeswoman in Washington.

Marci Larson, another Amtrak spokeswoman in Washington, said the last seven cars derailed: three remained upright, three were left leaning and one, a sleeper car, was turned on its side.

Among the passengers was Wisconsin State Rep. Marlin Schneider, who was returning from the National Conference of State Legislatures in Boise, Idaho, and suffered a bruise to his leg.

″We were having lunch and suddenly the train came apart,″ said Schneider, who was traveling with his two young daughters.

″It started to buckle. Cars are off the tracks everywhere. ... We didn’t get hurt very badly but a number of people did.″

Schneider said it was fortunate he and his daughters were in the dining car and not in their sleeping car, which tipped over.

Video below: Reporting from 1990 passenger trail derailment

″The train just started shaking,″ Jasonna Gibson of Schenectady, N.Y. said. She said she was holding her baby, Tamu, when the train derailed.

″The baby fell. I tried to get him and a lady fell on me,″ Ms. Gibson said.

Paula Stater, who lives about a quarter mile from where the train derailed, said she saw it topple from the tracks.

″It just went over,″ she said. ″It just made a sound, like metal grating metal. It was really unusual, like a bunch of wheels hitting.″

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