Amtrak Train 91 was carrying 139 passengers and eight crew members to Miami from NY when it hit the freight train at about 2.35 am local time (0735 GMT) near Columbia, South Carolina's state capital, and derailed, the railroad said in a statement.
Tom Allen with the Office of Regulatory Staff said that two trains on the same track is a problem.
The company added that CSX maintains all of the tracks and signal systems in the area where the collision occurred. It appears Amtrak was on the wrong track. "Did this just happen?'" she said.
In a media briefing at around 10.30am local time, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster revealed that the freight train was stationary on the track when the Amtrak train smashed into it. The NTSB said it was working to confirm that.
Michael eventually wanted to go on disability because he suffered mental trauma from the accidents and was afraid something else would happen, Richard said. Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon, Lexington County Spokesman Harrison Cahill, and Public Safety Director David Kerr also spoke.
"That's what it's created to do", he said, referring to technology that regulators have been pressing for for decades with mixed success.
The collision marks the second for Amtrak within the past week and third within the past two months. Kempf was from Savannah, George, and Cella from Orange Park, Florida, Fisher said.
Mr McMaster said 116 people were taken to hospital for treatment.
"Each of our Columbia-based hospitals has received patients: Palmetto Health Baptist received 5 patients, Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge received 9 patients and Palmetto Health Richland received 48 patients", Palmetto Health spokesperson Tammie Epps said. TV footage showed the locomotive on its side, its front crumpled.
Railroad advocates point out that trains remain far safer than cars, which killed 37,000 people past year across the country.
He added: "It's a disgusting thing to see, to understand what force was involved". The train was traveling at almost 80 miles per hour - more than twice the speed limit around a curve.
One, Erin Wittman, told MSNBC: "We just awoke to violent shaking; I just knew immediately we were off the tracks and I couldn't believe it was actually happening".
Elliot Smith told The State newspaper of Columbia that he was staying with a friend when they heard what sounded like a propane tank exploding.
Passengers said the crash had caused chaos in the middle of the night.
Amtrak officials worked to gather luggage and other belongings and line up buses to take passengers on to their destinations. Other passengers were bleeding.
"We know they are shaken up quite a bit. We were waiting for a few minutes before they evacuated us".
One person was killed and another seriously injured when another train carrying Republican lawmakers hit a garbage truck near Crozet, VA, on January 31.