Amtrak believes it was rock that struck train, cracked windows in Philadelphia

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Monday, February 1, 2016
Amtrak believed it was a rock that struck train, cracked window in Philadelphia
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Kemberly Richardson is reporting live in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WABC) -- Amtrak officials now say they believe it was a rock that struck an Acela Express train on its way from Washington to New York Sunday evening.

The incident happened just before 7 p.m. in the Bridesburg section of Philadelphia, just north of the city and in the same general area where Amtrak 188 derailed on May 12, 2015, killing eight commuters and injuring more than 200. Investigators are looking into whether a projectile also hit that train, in an area notorious for rock throwing and similar mischief.

"It was really emotional," passenger Reginald Osbourne said. "As I said before, you just realize how fragile life can be."

Osbourne was sitting just inches from the severely cracked glass. Had anything come through the window, he would have been hit.

"When it hit, it was a thump," passenger Taylor Lorenz said. "It almost sounded like somebody had slammed down a tray table really hard or dropped a stack of books."

Lorenz was sitting two rows in front of Osbourne on the train.

None of the 201 passengers was injured.. But what officials don't know is if someone intentionally threw the rock or if it was an accident.

"I'm a little nervous to ride Amtrak after what happened last time," Lorenz said. "I think they haven't made a lot of improvements to Amtrak in a long time, and I don't think they take safety very seriously on Amtrak."

But Amtrak officials say all windows on Acela Express and Northeast Regional trains are treated with a special glazing that reinforces them and meets federal regulations. Still, Osbourne says he'll think twice next time he steps on board.

"The next time I'm pulling out of DC or Philly, I might be mindful not to sit next to the window," he said"

The train was stopped at Metropark station in Woodbridge, New Jersey, where it was checked for other damage by Amtrak police.

None was found, and the train continued on to New York City, arriving just after 8 p.m.