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Opinion: Could better track design have prevented the Washington train crash?

A crew works Wednesday on the curved stretch of track leading to the bridge in Washington state where an Amtrak train derailed two days earlier
A crew works Wednesday on the curved stretch of track leading to the bridge in Washington state where an Amtrak train derailed two days earlier
(Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

To the editor: One observation was missing in your article, “Rail experts ask why new track in Washington state Amtrak crash did not have speed control system.”

In a new bypass designed to speed the trip, there is no excuse for designing and constructing a 30 mph curve immediately after an 80 mph straight section. A higher-speed curve or a gradual reduction in speed by steps over several miles is far less likely to be missed than the sudden change that was present.

John D. McMahon, Arcadia

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To the editor: The new Seattle to Portland route for passenger trains obviously wasn’t sufficiently tested.

The train, which apparently jumped the tracks around a curved section, with multiple cars falling onto a section of Interstate 5, crushing or damaging several vehicles below but miraculously not killing anyone inside, needs a protective barrier in this section of the overpass to prevent the train from falling onto the highway.

Kenneth L. Zimmerman, Huntington Beach

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