Derailed train in Dickson City – click for larger version
Around noon yesterday, a train moving slowly, at 10 miles per hour, was hauling lumber and frack sand from Scranton to nearby Carbondale, when a video surveillance camera caught the train leaving the rails. Ten cars derailed, with three tipping over completely (spilling sand) and one teetering on the brink. The video, taken from a police station across the street, is amazing.
The acting police chief of the local Dickson City borough (Lackawanna County) where the accident happened had just pulled up next to the train and witnessed the whole thing. He saw a wheel on one of the cars come off the tracks, and then the cars behind it completely leave the tracks.
One of the rails remains “under tension” and concerns crews. If it were to break free, it could kill someone instantly.
In the pictures we observed, piles of sand can be seen on the ground. Local media is reporting there were “no hazardous materials on board.” Fair enough. Frack sand is not inherently hazardous. However, frack sand not like the sand you find at the local playground. The granules are very fine–somewhat like asbestos. If the sand becomes airborne and is breathed, it can cause problems. The general public is not in any danger as the sand will dissipate within a few yards. But we certainly hope workers cleaning up the mess are wearing protective clothes and masks.
From the local Scranton Times-Tribune:
As temperatures started to rise in the early afternoon, the acting police chief wanted to run home to change into a lighter shirt.
But William Bilinski’s plans were derailed when he saw a wheel on the train coming off the tracks near the police station and Borough Building at 901 Enterprise Drive.
Around noon Tuesday, three Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad train cars carrying lumber and sand used for fracking, tumbled off the track; a fourth car tilted. A total of roughly 10 cars came off the tracks. The train was traveling from Scranton to Carbondale at about 10 mph.
The derailment began when one of the wheels hopped off the tracks. The cars started to bounce, building momentum until they fell off the tracks, according to Bilinski.
“It’s not something you see every day,” Bilinski said.
In fact, it’s the first time in the 20 years he’s been on the force that he’s seen it happen.
The derailment stopped other cars across Eagle Lane, preventing drivers from reaching the borough building from Main Street, borough clerk Kathy Simone said. Eagle Lane and Enterprise Avenue reopened quickly, according to the Dickson City Police Facebook page.
No hazardous materials were on board, and no injuries have been reported, Bilinski said.
But a rogue rail had crews concerned. According to Bilinski, the rail lifted into the air and twisted before landing.
“The rail is under tension,” he said. “If that was to break free, the amount of force that would come off that could cut somebody right in half.”
Crews worked into the night Tuesday, using heavy equipment to remove twisted metal and train wheels from where rail cars lay on their sides or off the track.
The cause is still under investigation by Pete Nicholas, trainmaster and investigator with the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad.
“There’s no danger to public safety,” Nicholas said.
It’s not usually just one thing that causes this; there’s likely a few contributing factors, Nicholas said. He hoped to determine the causes by the end of the day.
The “slow speed derailment” shouldn’t have a negative impact on shipments, as some were already north of the accident and were expected to be delivered on time, according to Larry Malski, president of the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority.
Malski expected repairs to be made within a few days.
“It’s going to be a long process,” Bilinski said. (1)
Video (and brief article) from local ABC affiliate WNEP. Take time to watch the video.
Four train cars were caught on camera as they fell off the tracks Tuesday in Lackawanna County.
Just after noon, those train cars carrying thousands of pounds of sand derailed in Dickson City, leaving behind a big mess that may take days to clean up.
Dickson City acting Police Chief William Bilinski witnessed the whole thing.
Bilinski was sitting in an SUV facing the tracks. He tells us he thought something was not normal with the flow of the train cars.
“I was watching the train cross the tracks. I saw one of the cars had a wheel that wasn’t on the rail,” he recalled. “Then the rest of the cars behind it as the train came down, started to build momentum rocking left to right until one of these cars got enough momentum and fell to the right and off the tracks.”
The Delaware Lackawanna Railroad cleanup crews are facing a big mess — huge mounds of sand, crumpled train cars that lost their wheels, and a twisted steel rail ripped from the railroad ties.
Officials from the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority tell Newswatch 16 this train was headed for Carbondale, carrying tons of sand to be dropped off there and then transferred to trucks for fracking in the region.
Members of the railroad authority say no one was hurt in this accident and there is no danger to the public.
Investigators have not said what led to the wreck. (2)
(1) Scranton (PA) Times-Tribune (Apr 10, 2019) – Train carrying sand, lumber derails in Dickson City
(2) Scranton (PA) WNEP ABC (Apr 9, 2019) – Train Derailment Caught on Camera in Lackawanna County
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