01/13/10 336 W, 1 I - + 7 - 9 Vance County Train Derailment, 1984

On the rainy Monday evening of March 5, 1984, about 6:45 p.m., a southbound passenger train derailed along Highway 1 in Kittrell in Vance County. The Amtrak Silver Star was carrying 274 passengers and 19 crew. All of the 18 cars and one of the three locomotives left the tracks. Five of the train cars jack-knifed, and two dropped down a 20-foot embankment.

The accident occurred about a half-mile from the Kittrell Fire Department, where first-aid training was being conducted for 25 to 30 sheriff's deputies and rescue squad personnel. They arrived at the scene just minutes after the accident, and formed human chains to move stretchers and help the walking wounded reach the arriving emergency vehicles on the nearby highway that ran parallel to the tracks.

Duke Medical Center (41 miles south) received one patient with a neck injury. Franklin Memorial Hospital in Louisburg (15 miles south) received a pregnant patient and her 2 1/2-year-old son. They were transported by North Wake Rescue Squad.

Maria Parham Hospital in Henderson (nine miles north) received thirteen patients, mostly with abrasions and bruises. Those with minor injuries were treated by doctors from the surrounding communities.

Uninjured passengers were lowered down the muddy embankment using ropes tied to crossties. They were transported by school bus to the National Guard Armory in Henderson. They then spent the night in three motels in town. The next day, they were taken to Raleigh-Durham airport, Amtrak stations, or bus stations.

Over 100 rescue workers responded to the scene. All passengers had been removed by 8:40 p.m. Some 3,000 feet of track was also damaged. The train was traveling at 79 mph and within the speed limit for the section of track. The cause of the derailment was determined as broken axle on the third locomotive.

Other Silver Star accidents included a head-on collision with a freight train on April 2, 1980, in Southern Pines. More than 100 injured. On August 12, 1974, a Silver Star derailed near Wake Forest, and injured about 28 people. The Silver Star travels from New York to Miami.

Sources: Raleigh Times, March 6, 1984; NTSB report.

It was a site to see, one I will never forget
rnln (Email) - 01/13/10 - 22:20

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