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Amtrak train derails in Northfield, Vermont: State Police

It was not clear how many cars derailed in the city of Northfield, or if there were any injuries.
An Amtrak train derailed Friday morning in Vermont, state police told NBC News. (Courtesy of Brian Bell)
An Amtrak train derailed Friday morning in Vermont, state police told NBC News.

A southbound Amtrak train derailed Monday morning in central Vermont after apparently striking a rock slide, officials said.

The accident occurred in the town of Northfield, about 10 miles south of Montpelier, the state capital.

Passenger Rodger Bell, who was with his wife on a sightseeing trip, said the ride was smooth until "we felt something hitting the train, which wasn't normal, and then all hell broke loose."

The engineer hit the brakes quickly, "but it was too late," Bell said.

The Bells, from Windsor, Colorado, were "tossed around a bit" but weren't hurt, the husband said.

A spokesperson for the Montpelier Fire Department said they had reports of four people injured so far. There have been no reported deaths, the spokesperson, Lt. Dana Huoppi, said.

A federal official told NBC News that none of the injuries so far appeared life-threatening.

Initial reports from the scene indicated that five cars derailed, and two tumbled over a bank, Huoppi said.

The train was traveling from Saint Albans, Vermont to Washington, D.C. when it derailed after reportedly striking a rock slide on the tracks, Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz said.

The two cars that fell were the engine and one that held only a conductor, who was injured but not severely, Gina Conn, a reporter for the Times Argus newspaper, told MSNBC.

The train was the "Vermonter," the daily service that runs between St. Albans, Vermont and Washington, D.C. It is the only Amtrak service that runs on the track. Regular freight service also runs on the track.

The train is popular at this time of year with tourists looking to soak in the annual fall foliage throughout Vermont and New England.

It travels 600 miles from northwestern Vermont to the nation's capital.

In 2014, the Vermonter served 88,000 passengers —about 241 per day.

A spokesman for Central Vermont Medical Center told local NBC affiliate WPTZ that 98 people were on board the train. The hospital has not yet received any patients, the station reported.

Bell said that after he and his wife got out of their car, they walked down the tracks and gathered with other passengers in a nearby yard, awaiting information on the next step. He said rescue workers "are doing a wondering job, checking on everybody, making sure they are accounted for."

Several dozen passengers were been put on school buses for an armory near Norwich University, a private military school in Northfield, The Associated Press reported.

State police officers and Federal Railroad Administration investigators were on their way to the scene.

This is a developing story. Please refresh for updates.

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