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Amtrak Engine Derails Near Philadelphia, Two Deaths Reported

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An Amtrak logo is seen on the side of a passenger train on the platform.Photograph by Luke Sharrett—Bloomberg via Getty Images

An Amtrak train locomotive derailed when it struck a backhoe in Chester, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, and two people were killed in the accident, television stations reported.

Amtrak, the U.S. passenger train company, said it was suspending Northeast Corridor services between Philadelphia and New York.

The southbound Palmetto train running from New York to Savannah, Georgia, had about 341 passengers and seven crew members aboard when it struck the backhoe, Amtrak said.

Philadelphia’s ABC and NBC television affiliates reported two deaths. The NBC station said at least one more person was injured.

Spokesmen for the Chester police and fire departments were not available for immediate comment.

Fox News said the two dead were construction workers who were unable to clear the tracks in time. It quoted witnesses as saying the train’s horn sounded before it struck the equipment.

Passenger Stephanie Burroughs described a fireball and windows on the train being blown out upon impact.

“The conductor did inform us that there was a fatality, that there were people working on the track,” she told Fox News.

A spokesman for the Trainer United Methodist Church in Chester, about 15 miles southwest of Philadelphia, said it was being used as a staging area and hundreds of passengers were in the church’s gymnasium.

In one of Amtrak’s deadliest recent accidents, eight people were killed and 43 hurt last May when a New York-bound train derailed in Philadelphia. Officials are still determining the cause of that crash.

Last month, about three dozen people were injured when an Amtrak passenger train derailed in Kansas.