Most Amtrak deaths are on the tracks, not on the train

At least seven people have died in an Amtrak derailment during a trip from Washington, D.C., to New York City, a tragic and unusual accident for the federal rail service.

From 2010 to 2013, only two people died in Amtrak-related accidents in Maine, both people determined to be trespassing on railroad property at the time, according to Federal Railroad Administration statistics.

Nationally, about 2.6 percent of people killed by an Amtrak train were passengers. About 83 percent were determined to be trespassing on railroad property and another 13 percent were contractors or other non-employees with permission to be on railroad property.

Figures for all of 2014 are not included in a data set compiled by the FRA, but Maine had an unusually high total of three deaths on the tracks of Amtrak’s Downeaster, based on reporting at the time. None of those who died were passengers.

In most states, the majority of people who die in Amtrak-related accidents are not passengers.

Another 18 people suffered some kind of injury on the Downeaster from 2010 to 2013, with nine people who were employees, eight passengers and one person determined to have trespassed on the tracks.

During the period from 2010 to 2013, the total number of deaths specifically caused by Amtrak trains has declined from year to year.

There were 130 deaths on Amtrak trains in 2010 and 100 in 2013, according to FRA data.

The Washington Post reported the accident in Philadelphia alone makes 2015 the worst year for passenger deaths caused by train derailments since 1999.

Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.