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Amtrak train was going 81 mph before it derailed, website says

An Amtrak train that derailed south of Seattle and killed multiple people was making its first run as part of a higher speed service that local authorities had warned could be dangerous.

Transitdocs.com, a website that maps Amtrak train locations and speeds using data from the railroad's train tracker app, says Train 501 was going 81.1 mph moments before the derailment Monday.

The state Department of Transportation posted information about the $180.7 million project online that says the maximum speed along that stretch of track is 79 mph.

The new route was designed to speed up service by removing passenger trains from a route along Puget Sound that's bogged down by curves, single-track tunnels, and freight traffic.

A U.S. official who was briefed on the investigation told the Associated Press, preliminary signs indicate the Amtrak train may have struck something on the track before going off the track.

The official said because the tracks were new it was unlikely to be a maintenance issue.