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Rail Advocate Remembers Friends Killed In Amtrak Derailment

Zack Willhoite, left, and Jim Hamre died in Monday's derailment of an Amtrak train near DuPont. Both were active in organizations that promoted passenger rail travel.
Photos provided by Pierce Transit; Rail Passengers Association
/
via Associated Press
Zack Willhoite, left, and Jim Hamre died in Monday's derailment of an Amtrak train near DuPont. Both were active in organizations that promoted passenger rail travel.

Authorities have confirmed three deaths in Monday’s Amtrak derailment near DuPont. On Tuesday, the public learned the identities of two of those people.

Zack Willhoite was 35. He worked in customer service at Pierce Transit. James Hamre was 61, and a retired civil engineer. They were on the inaugural run of Amtrak’s new route between Seattle and Portland because they were rail enthusiasts.

Both were active with the group “All Aboard Washington,” which promotes passenger rail travel. KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco spoke with Lloyd Flem, the group’s executive director, who knew both men very well.

Pierce Transit officials told the Associated Press that Willhoite was admired by his colleagues. Jim Hamre’s family said in a statement on Facebook that they are heartbroken by his loss.