PA - Freight cars derail in Fayette Count : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

PA - Freight cars derail in Fayette County, causing cancelations of passenger trains

OHIOPYLE (AP) -- Five flat cars on a CSX Corp. freight train derailed in Fayette County on Thursday, blocking a highway for several hours and canceling two passenger trains.

Nobody was injured in the derailment that occurred about 8 a.m. in Ohiopyle on tracks that parallel the Youghiogheny River. Ohiopyle is a tiny borough about 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh that is best known for its whitewater rafting.

Dan Murphy, a spokesman for Richmond, Va.-based CSX, said two sets of tracks were closed due to the accident. One was scheduled to reopen at 3 a.m. today, but there was no timetable to reopen the other, he said.

Two Amtrak passenger trains were canceled as a result of the accident - one from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., and another from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh. Those passengers were bused to their destinations, Murphy said.

Murphy said if the one track reopens as scheduled, Amtrak's Friday schedule should not be affected.

The Associated Press could not immediately reach Amtrak officials for comment Thursday.

Amtrak is a government subsidized railroad that does not own most of the track it uses, but leases it. Murphy said CSX Corp. owns the tracks where the derailment occurred.

The freight train was on its way to Baltimore from Chicago and consisted of 36 flat cars that were carrying 117 highway trailers and shipline containers. Highway trailers can be pulled by freight trucks and shipline containers can be offloaded and moved by other means, including cargo ships.

Murphy said the cars that derailed were carrying 15 containers or trailers. One of the flat cars and a container slid into shallow waters a the river's edge, he said.

Murphy said he didn't know exactly what the train was carrying.

"Walk through a Kmart; it could be anything - computers, salt and pepper, clothing," Murphy said.

But he did confirm that one of the containers carried chloride, a toxic chemical, "but it did not spill; nothing happened; it didn't burst," Murphy said.

CSX investigators don't know what caused the crash. Murphy said the speed limit on that stretch of tracks is 30 mph and the train was traveling 26 mph when it derailed.

Ohiopyle borough council president Leo Smith said he heard the crash and was thankful that no hazardous materials spilled - and that the accident didn't happen during the summer whitewater rafting season.

Smith said Ohiopyle has about 80 year-round residents, but thousands come to the area to raft in the summer via state Route 381, which was closed for nearly four hours due to the incident.

-- Doris (, November 27, 2000

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