One minute they were husbands and wives, students and professionals, lost in cellphone chatter, the glow of iPads, the rhythm of a passenger train charging through Philadelphia on a spring night at more than 100 m.p.h.
The next moment they were being hurled into overhead luggage racks, slammed into windows, even stripped of their shoes as Amtrak Train 188 flew off its tracks and came to a screaming, horrific, halt.
It was, according to survivors of the deadliest Northeast Corridor rail crash in a generation, a scene of such sudden destruction they could hardly believe they had witnessed it – let alone walked away.
All seven cars being tugged by a New York-bound locomotive flipped onto their sides or snapped to a severe tilt near I-95 as the train, roaring at twice the posted speed, blew a curve at Frankford Junction at 9:21 p.m. Tuesday.
The 238 passengers had virtually no warning.
As one man who managed to climb out of Car No. 7 put it: “You saw and heard noise still creaking. You had people everywhere. You look over at the train and you can’t believe that the car three up from us is perpendicular to the track.”
Those words from Jeremy Wladis, 51, a businessman, conveyed the awe that lingered hours after the crash. Wladis wept Wednesday when he learned that a seventh person had been declared dead. Read more at