Minutes before Amtrak Regional 188’s violent derailment in darkness Tuesday, two other trains were hit by projectiles along the same line.
Amtrak Acela 2173 — heading to Washington, D.C. from New York — had a passenger window damaged around 9:15 p.m. as it traversed the southbound line toward Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station.
Madison Calvert was sitting next to the left-side window that was hit. He was working on his laptop computer when he heard a loud smack.
“I’m like ‘Oh my God, my window’s shattered,’” he recalled. The impact left a large divot and cracks throughout the window, as seen in photos the 29-year-old took.
Calvert texted his wife at 9:18 p.m., shortly after the window was hit, he said. The train arrived at 30th Street Station moments later and two Amtrak Police officers came onboard to inspect the window, he said. After a few minutes and a snap of photos, the train continued on to Washington.
A short time before the Acela was hit, at 9:05 p.m., a SEPTA Regional Rail train running northbound on adjacent tracks toward Trenton, New Jersey had the engineer’s window shattered by an unknown projectile, the transit authority confirmed. NBC10 previously reported this incident on Wednesday.
Amtrak 188 derailed around 9:20 p.m. as it entered a curve at the Frankford Junction traveling in excess of 100 mph. The crash killed eight people and injured over 200.
A SEPTA spokeswoman told NBC10 officials don’t believe the projectile was connected to the derailment. Mayor Michael Nutter reiterated this point at a news conference on Wednesday.
But with two similar incidents and a derailment to take place in the same area, Calvert, who says he’s a regular Amtrak commuter, remained skeptical.
“That’s not random. It’s just impossible,” he said Thursday.
Amtrak has not commented on the Acela incident and did not return a request for comment.