TACOMA, WASHINGTON (December 19, 2017) – Jim Hamre was identified as one of those killed in the terrible Amtrak derailment on the morning of December 18th in Washington State, according to a local news source. (map)
Around 7:30 am, Amtrak train 501 had just left DuPont, Washington as part of a brand new rail service designed to run between Seattle and Portland, and cut down commuter times. The new service was part of a $180 million dollar project to overhaul tracks normally designated for freight trains, so they could handle the high speeds of an Amtrak service. On Monday morning, the inaugural voyage of this new service began, only to end in disaster.
As Amtrak 501 approached a slight curve on an overpass spanning Interstate 5, passengers began to notice a creaking and rocking in the cars. The reason was because the train was going 80 mph…. Over twice the 30 mph maximum speed for the curve. The first locomotive jumped the tracks, and thirteen rail cars followed suit. The lead engine and two rail cars plummeted down onto the southbound lanes of the freeway, two cars dangled precariously above the lanes, and more cars slid off into the forest to one side, striking trees.
Jim Hamre was one of the three confirmed deaths as a result of the accident. One of the others was Jim’s long time friend Zack Willhoite. Both were transit enthusiasts, and were doubtless celebrating the inaugural voyage of Amtrak’s newest line of service. Jim was the former Olympic Region IT Manager for the Washington State Department of Transportation, and Zack worked for Pierce Transit.
“Sadly, there are no words that can comfort all family members and friends affected by this tragic accident,” said the attorneys from Lexton Law. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved.”