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Freeway Closed By Deadly Train Derailment In Washington State Reopens

A WSDOT traffic camera shows the first cars to drive through the cleaned-up train wreck scene after I-5 southbound reopened.

Southbound Interstate 5 where Monday's Amtrak derailment sent train cars crashing down onto the freeway has re-opened. This comes as a big relief to drivers who endured hours-long detours or postponed travel between the Seattle-Tacoma area and points south.

It took two days for railroad and highway workers to clear all of the mangled train cars and one very heavy locomotive from southbound I-5. Then they had to fix gouged pavement and replace about 200 feet of destroyed guardrail.

Gov. Jay Inslee said Amtrak promised in a phone call Wednesday to cover the costs from the derailment, including the clean up and the expenses of those injured. The governor also said Amtrak’s CEO committed to activate an automated safety braking system called Positive Train Control on the Cascades line "as soon as possible." ?

Amtrak train 501 failed to slow down for a curve at a highway overpass in DuPont and then jumped the tracks.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.