On Monday, an Amtrak train traveling from Seattle to Portland derailed near Tacoma while reportedly traveling too fast around a curve sharp enough to require a 30-miles-per-hour speed limit, killing three people and sending more than 100 to the hospital.
But the train’s route was never intended to include such a tight curve, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Initial railroad plans proposed by the Washington state government would have eliminated the turn, allowing trains to safely enter the area at higher speeds, according to the Journal. But with a $412 million price tag — more than double the bypass project’s budget — and a tighter deadline mandated by federal grants, authorities decided to leave the curve untouched, with a speed limit of 30 miles per hour.
The train that derailed Monday was making its maiden voyage along the new, faster route through Washington when it reportedly entered the bend at 80 miles per hour. Still, local officials had been concerned about the possibility of accidents for some time. Don Anderson, the mayor of nearby Lakewood, told the Seattle Times that his city had opposed the new rail line, and that he had feared accidents long before the derailment.
“I didn’t predict a time, but I did say somebody is going to get killed,” Anderson told the Times. “I hoped that wasn’t right.”