Amtrak has announced the California Zephyr, which was en route from Emeryville California to Chicago, has derailed near Max, Nebraska early Friday morning.
Details are beginning to be released by Amtrak and the Nebraska State Police on the derailment of the historic Zephyr.
According to a statement from Amtrak one of its trains carrying 178 passengers has derailed in southwest Nebraska. At least three people have been taken to area hospitals, according to a report on CNN television. The extent of their injuries is unknown at this time.
Amtrak reports, "At about 8:50 a.m. CDT, an agricultural vehicle obstructing the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. (BNSF Railway Co.) tracks caused an Amtrak train to become disabled near Benkelman, Neb., which is near the Nebraska-Kansas border, according to Nebraska TV.
The number 6 train was eastbound when the accident with the farming vehicle occurred. NTV is reporting that 'both of the locomotives that pull the California Zephyr have left the tracks,' taking with them three rail cars. The remainder of the train is still upright on the tracks and will be inspected by Amtrak officials for further damage.
The train reportedly left Emeryville on Wednesday on its 2438 mile route that ends in Chicago. The California Zephyr runs from San Francisco to Reno, then crosses the Rocky Mountains on its way to Salt Lake City and Denver. The Zephyr then makes her way across the Nebraska plains, through the farmland of Iowa, with a final destination of Chicago, Illinois.
A map of its route can be seen here.
The two and half day long route taken by the California Zephyr is considered 'one of the most scenic' of all of Amtrak's trains.
Amtrak officials and the Nebraska State Police are requesting that people stay away from the scene of the derailment so that first responders and emergency personnel with Amtrak and the BNSF are able to get to the scene of the accident.
Anyone with family members or friends who were aboard the California Zephyr can call 1-800-523-9101 for more information. Passengers are reportedly being moved to a local high school until other travel arrangements can be made.
Video showing the scenic route of the California Zephyr can be seen below.