Freight train drops load, blocking tracks near Perryville for hours

January 17, 1998|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,SUN STAFF Staff writer Stacey P. Patton contributed to this article.

A freak accident disrupted train traffic in the Northeast Corridor yesterday morning when 33 automobile frames fell off two flatcars of a 100-car northbound Conrail freight train near Perryville, blocking northbound and southbound tracks for more than three hours.

No one was injured, and no cars of the freight train derailed. The accident occurred 40 miles north of Baltimore about 8: 15 a.m., strewing auto frames for two miles along the tracks, said Amtrak spokesman Kirk Rostron.

Amtrak brought in 20 buses to shuttle passengers north and south around the blockage to make connections in Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia.

Service resumed when one track reopened about 11: 30 a.m., and full service was restored by early afternoon, Rostron said.

The freight train was 6,235 feet long and was pulled by two locomotives, said Conrail spokesman Robert Libkind. The auto frames, on the 19th and 20th cars, shifted, snapped their metal bindings and toppled off. "We're investigating now to see why the load shifted," Libkind said.

The vehicle frames were bound from Detroit to a Chrysler assembly plant in Newark, Del., and for plants on the Eastern Shore, Libkind said. The train had turned onto the Northeast Corridor tracks at Perryville, a few miles from the accident scene.

Detectors on the tracks alerted the engineer, who brought the train to a safe stop, Libkind said. He said he did not know how fast the train was going at the time of the accident but that 30 mph is the maximum in the area.

Pub Date: 1/17/98

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