Amtrak suspends service between Philadelphia and New York City after fatal accident

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Two people are confirmed dead after an Amtrak train struck a backhoe in Chester, Pa. (Twitter/Glenn R Hills Jr)

Two people are dead and dozens are injured after an Amtrak train struck a backhoe in Chester, Delaware County.

PHOTOS: Fatal Amtrak train derailment in Delaware County

Amtrak has suspended all service on the Northeast Corridor between Philadelphia and Wilmington. Service between Philadelphia and New York City had been affected, but has since resumed.

SEPTA has suspended its Wilmington/Newark Regional Rail service due to the fatal incident.

New Jersey Transit is accepting Amtrak tickets/passes between New York and Trenton.

People with questions about their friends and family on Train 89 should call Amtrak's Emergency Hotline at 1-800-532-9101.

The accident was reported at 7:53 a.m. Sunday near Booth Street on the Palmetto Train 89.

The train was operating from New York to Savannah, Georgia.

Amtrak officials say the train struck a backhoe that was on the tracks.

The impact derailed the lead engine of the train.

Amtrak say there were approximately 341 passengers and seven crew members on board.

Chester Fire Commissioner Travis Thomas said in a late Sunday morning press conference that the scene extended to Trainer, Pa.

Officials with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management confirm there were two fatalities. Officials say they were not passengers. It is reported one of the victims was the backhoe operator.

Thomas says 35 people suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Linton Holmes of Wilson, North Carolina was on the train when it derailed in Delaware County.

VIDEO: Linton Holmes describes feeling on Amtrak train
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Linton Holmes speaks about the Amtrak crash.

"The train was rumbling. We got off track, I guess. It was just a bunch of dust. There was dust everywhere. Then the train conductors, they were running to the front, because I was all the way in the back. Five more minutes, we were just waiting there. Then the train conductor came up and told us there was a fatality and wanted to see if anyone else was injured," Holmes said.

Holmes recalled an explosion of some kind.

"It was an explosion. We got off track and then there was like a big explosion. Then there was a fire and windows burst out. Some people were cut up, but it was just minor injuries," Holmes said.

Mariam Akhtar from Washington, D.C. was on the sixth car.

VIDEO: Passenger recalls Amtrak train derailment
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A passenger on the Amtrak train recalls what it was like when the train derailed.

"It felt like the train hit something and there were like three or four really big bangs and it kind of threw us off the seats we were sitting in. There was a lot of smoke and everybody was yelling. The train kind of stopped and later on, everybody was running to the front. Then the people were in the front started walking toward the back," Akhtar said.

Akhtar says the crew handled the situation well and none were panicked.

She says she was on the train for about 30 minutes before she was able to exit.

Action News also spoke with a man on the phone whose 52-year-old mother was on the train. He says she was on her way from New York City to her home in Maryland.

His mother said she has injuries to her knees, head and back, but he was able to talk to her on the phone. She told him it was a scary and chaotic scene; she was stuck on the train for some time before being taken out in an ambulance.

Emergency crews on the scene aided the passengers at 9th and Langley in Trainer.

Other passengers were directed to the rear hall of the Trainer United Methodist Church. Later, SEPTA buses were brought in to transport the passengers.

Stephen Gardner, Executive Vice President of Amtrak, said all passengers were being taken to Philadelphia.

The Federal Railroad Administration has responded to the scene. The NTSB is also investigating.
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