What a fantastic coast-to-coast railroad trip this 50th-anniversary couple was taking from an island off Georgia to the Pacific Northwest. It leads to a tragic ending in Northern Montana.

“With their faith and the way they treated people, they’re in a good place, I think.”

Credit the Associated Press for filing these articles regarding Saturday's tragic Amtrak train derailment in Northern Montana.  Begin with the compassionate work of the locals both from farms and the nearby community of Chester...

Liberty Medical Center in the small community of Chester called in all of its staff — including housekeeping — and most responded, said Bev Halter, director of human resources. They triaged 31 patients Saturday evening.

Unfortunately, 3 lives were lost in the accident.  I will always be a champion of equal empathy for all lives lost.  All fatalities have their unique stories, these three just seem to resonate with me.

Because...I'm seriously wanting to plan a trip to the West Coast on Amtrak.

Don and Margie Varnadoe eagerly planned out a cross-country train trip to celebrate their 50th anniversary. They left their island home off the coast of Georgia on a train that was bound for Seattle Washington.  Well along the way, a younger couple got on the train, an Illinois man Zachariah Schneider and his wife Rebecca, also heading west.

I've actually been on a railroad trip from North Dakota to South Carolina and have fond memories.

Don, Margie, and Zachariah lost their lives in the northern reaches of Montana.

The Amtrak Empire Builder that was en route from Chicago to Seattle crashed Saturday afternoon near Joplin, a town of about 200 near the Canadian border.

Investigators do not know the cause of the derailment, but they are studying video from the train and another locomotive that went over the same track a little over an hour earlier

Rebecca Schneider has wisely lawyered up...it really is the first step in anything.

“Sadly, what was supposed to be a joyous vacation turned tragic because of the failures of Amtrak and BNSF to fulfill their safety responsibilities,” said her attorney, Jeffrey P. Goodman, in a news release.

Three fatalities and multiple injuries in a fairly benign accident. Apparently, any train derailment is prone for dying.


The rail line was reopened to traffic early Tuesday, said Lena Kent, a BNSF Railway spokesperson.



Tell 'em Associated Press...

Dec. 18, 2017: Three people were killed and 10 seriously injured in a derailment near Olympia, Washington, in which part of the train landed on Interstate 5. The train was traveling more than 80 mph during its inaugural run of a newly opened, faster rail line when it left the tracks.

Amtrak Train Derailment South Of Tacoma, Washington Leaves Train Car Dangling Onto Highway
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I'm sorry what?

Amtrak Train Derailment South Of Tacoma, Washington Leaves Train Car Dangling Onto Highway
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Gonna have to move that...

Amtrak Train Derailment South Of Tacoma, Washington Leaves Train Car Dangling Onto Highway
Getty Images

OK...that was 2017, so Brenda and I have been contemplated this ride on the rails for maybe a few years.  Should this latest Amtrak tragedy have any sway on me n B's future plans?

I'm going to say no...everything is a crapshoot.  I'm looking forward to a train trip through the mountains. I guess the key is- time the trip out to see the cool sites during daylight.  So I'm still game...but

Here's another AP breakdown. This time of the significant Amtrak incidents in the past six years. Click on that to see more.

Amtrak Train Derailment Causes Mass Injuries In Philadelphia
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Seeing those scenes does make one pause.  Clearly, I'm interested in hearing the outcome of the latest investigation.

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