Amtrak to begin training crews on Point Defiance Bypass for first time since deadly 2017 derailment

Amtrak is taking a big step on Tuesday toward restoring passenger service along the Point Defiance Bypass.

It will be the first time crews have been on board since the deadly 2017 derailment.

The bypass was created to cut down on travel time between Seattle and Portland. A train derailed on it during its inaugural run, killing three people and injuring dozens more.

After the accident, there was a 17-month investigation, and a slew of safety improvements was made.

Amtrak will now begin training and qualifying crew members on the stretch of tracks from the Tacoma Dome Station to Nisqually Junction, just south of DuPont.

Once that training is completed in late July, Sound Transit, which owns the tracks, will decide when Amtrak’s trains can return.

“We’re going to be very diligent about our process. This is really driven by safety. We’re not on a schedule to get service back on there,” Scott Thompson with Sound Transit said.

The testing will happen from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Once crews have completed all the required qualifying runs for the route, Sound Transit will announce a final date for when service will return.