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[at-l] Did You See This?---

I believe Felix worked on a railroad gang for a while, too.  But then he made parole...

South Walker <southwalker@barefootfarm.com> wrote:Having worked at one time on a railroad section gang I am sure glad I don't 
have to clean this mess up.

South Walker southwalker@barefootfarm.com
ME-GA 1999
In hiking there is no special recognition given for speed, style,
or finesse. There are only those who do the hike and those who don't.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Leslie Booher" 
Sent: Monday, April 18, 2005 9:39 PM
Subject: [at-l] Did You See This?---

Freight train jumps tracks

Monday, April 18, 2005

By Gale Courey Toensing

Copyright © 2005 Republican-American

FALLS VILLAGE -- A freight train derailed Sunday morning in the woods along 
the Appalachian Trail, sending six cars filled with lumber off the tracks 
and nearly toppling two ethanol-filled tankers.

No one was injured and none of the ethanol spilled from the tankers being 
hauled by The Housatonic Railroad Company.

Two engineers were in the engine at the front of the train when the accident 
occurred. The derailment began with the second car behind the engine, which 
was pulling the southbound train. One of the derailed cars struck a grove of 
large white pine trees, which fell across and blocked the Appalachian Trail. 
No hikers were on that section of the trail at the time.

The derailment occurred about 9:30 a.m. on a section of rail bed parallel to 
Warren Turnpike about half a mile north of Housatonic Valley Regional High 

The train included flatbed cars and box cars carrying plywood, lumber and 
other materials, and two tankers carrying ethyl alcohol or ethanol, a 
colorless volatile liquid used as a solvent in drugs, cleaning solutions, 
explosives and intoxicating beverages. Ethanol is considered a hazardous 
material by the state.

Neither of the tankers derailed although the wheels of the one of them were 
lifted off the tracks. The tanker was connected to the last car that 

Residents on Warren Turnpike said their homes shook when the train cars hit 
the ground. One resident described the sound as a thunderous roar. The first 
derailed car flipped at a 45-degree angle, its iron wheels rearing up into 
the air. Some of the cars were entirely on their sides. Large metal coil 
springs were strewn over the rail bed.

In some places the railroad ties were ripped completely from tracks and 
scattered along the edge of the slope. In one spot, the rail bed and tracks 
had remained intact, but the weight of the cars had shifted it about a foot 
to one side, leaving deep trenches from the railroad ties.

John Hanlon, the owner of the Housatonic Railroad Company, and other 
representatives of the company did not return calls seeking comment.

One of the engineers said he knew immediately from the sound that a 
derailment had occurred. He said he had no idea what caused it.

It is not known whether the National Transportation Safety Board will 
conduct an investigation. The board is an independent federal agency charged 
by Congress with investigating transportation accidents and issuing safety 
recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. The board determines 
the probable cause of transportation accidents.

Fire Chief Curt Mechare, of the Falls Village Volunteer Fire Department, 
arrived to inspect the scene around 10:15 a.m. Although there was no 
immediate emergency work for the fire department, Mechare had members 
dispatched to the scene as a precaution. About 20 firefighters responded, 
Mechare said. Volunteer emergency medical technicians were on standby at the 
fire house.

"It was just because of the tankers," Mechare said. He directed arrangements 
to be made to access water from the Falls Village Saw Mill area on Route 7 
in case of fire.

Department of Environmental Protection officials were also called to the 
scene. The derailment took place about 300 yards from the Housatonic River, 
but there was no danger of contamination. Mechare said the DEP officials 
were still at the scene later in the afternoon. The Housatonic Railroad 
Company sent an engine from North Canaan to Falls Village to retrieve one of 
the tankers and the four or five additional cars that were not derailed, 
Mechare said.

"They'll be back tomorrow. They have to get the box car off and then put the 
tanker back on the track and roll them back up to Canaan," Mechare said.

The company assigned a security guard to the site for the night, Mechare 

The Housatonic Railroad Company provides freight service to more than 161 
miles from Pittsfield, Mass., to Derby and Danbury, and from Danbury to 
Beacon, N.Y. Sunday's derailment is the first to occur for several years in 
the route along the Housatonic River through North Canaan, Falls Village, 
Salisbury, Sharon, Cornwall and Kent. Several derailments and track fires 
during the mid-1990s led to improvements of the rail bed.
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