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Distance from deadly derailment doesn't diminish horror

Life in Connecticut and the rest of the northeastern U.S. is not quite like anywhere else in the country. The history of the region going back to colonial days and the number of states closely packed together tends to feed a sense that even if something happens hundreds of miles away, it is as if it occurred close to home.

This sensibility has been evident in the wake of many recent disasters and came to the fore again after Tuesday's deadly Amtrak derailment. Even though it happened in Philadelphia, the tragedy is being felt quite strongly here in the Constitution State. Indeed, it reportedly prompted a lot of Connecticut commuters to adjust their usual routines so as to avoid riding trains.

It's easy to understand why. At least seven people are dead as of the writing of this blog. Hundreds of people were hurt in the accident, some of them critically. Considering the rail links that tie the entire region together, there is an appreciation that it could easily have happened here.

Investigators say it's too soon to say what caused seven cars and the engine of the train to leave the tracks. They say they have recovered the trip recording devices and expect them to yield important information.

What is known is that the train was headed from Washington to New York with more than 200 passengers aboard. The Associated Press reported that an analysis of video taken from near the scene indicates the train was traveling faster than 100 mph as it came to a curve and derailed. Officials say the limit for that curve is 50 mph. The engineer at the controls was questioned after the wreck but reportedly made no statement to authorities.

It's unclear from the reports whether anyone from Connecticut was on the train but it would seem likely that there might have been. If evidence of negligence is uncovered, that is information that could be important for victims and loved ones who consider seeking compensation for losses suffered.

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