Saturday, 2:15 PM
1 dead, 2 injured after train hits workers in Providence
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
One person was killed and two others were injured in Providence this afternoon when a northbound Amtrak train hit workers who were inspecting tracks, according to an Amtrak spokesman.
The Boston-bound high-speed Acela train was just north of downtown Providence at 1:15 p.m. when it hit the workers, said spokesman Cliff Cole. Two of the workers were Amtrak employees, and the third was a contractor. The two workers who were injured were rushed to a local hospital. Their conditions were not immediately available.
Train number 2154 had begun its journey in Washington, D.C., and had 162 passengers and six employees on board, Cole said. The train was traveling below the 55 mph speed limit authorized for the area, he said.
Six inspectors from the Federal Railroad Administration were on scene investigating the crash, said spokesman Robert Kulat.
The three workers were working just beyond a stone overpass about a mile north of the Providence station, at a point just beyond where the train tracks bend.
"It's a blind spot," said Richard Bonafiglia, an employee of the Cadillac Lounge, which is located near the site of the accident.
"You can't hear those trains, they're electric. It takes only a second … it's a freak accident," he said.
After the train arrived at South Station, Brian O’Leary, an account executive for Dell who was traveling to Boston from New York City, said he rides the train often and knew from the way it had stopped something unusual had happened.
"We were just leaving Providence and I felt this jolt. They hit their brakes pretty hard so you knew something was wrong," he said.
"It was very surreal to think that life is so short," he said.
Patrick Scholes, an analyst for JP Morgan who was also traveling from New York, said the accident happened "literally outside my window." Scholes took pictures with his cellphone that showed one worker apparently tending to another beneath his window.
He said riders were shocked and in a somber mood after the accident.
Amtrak service was suspended through Providence 2 1/2 hours while officials investigated. Service was restored at 3:48 p.m.
The MBTA also halted commuter rail service between Providence and South Attleboro, busing riders instead. Service was resumed by 4:30 p.m., the MBTA said.
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