Passengers killed in US train derailment

Reports said the Amtrak train car fell from an overpass, landing on a highway outside. Photo: AAP
Reports said the Amtrak train car fell from an overpass, landing on a highway outside. Photo: AAP

Passengers have been killed after an Amtrak train derailed on a bridge near Seattle, leaving at least one train car dangling onto the highway below.

The derailment occurred on the first day that Amtrak trains began using a new track between the cities of Tacoma and Olympia in Washington state, according to a news release from the state's transportation department.

The sheriff of Pierce County confirmed to CNN that there had been fatalities on the train but was unable to confirm how many people had lost their lives.

It was not immediately clear whether Monday's derailment, south of Seattle was connected to the new route.

Part of the train fell onto the interstate early on Monday morning, the local News Tribune newspaper reported.

However, the area's sheriff's department says there have been been no reports of fatalities to motorists.

A photograph posted on Twitter by the Washington State Department of Transportation showed a train car that had apparently veered off a bridge onto the highway below.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter that it was gathering information about the incident.

Chris Karnes who was three or four cars back from the front said he was "not sure what got hit" but that "there are several cars that are hanging over the overpass."

AAP