Two CSX freight trains collided at a track crossing near M&T Bank Stadium yesterday, derailing several empty cars and injuring two railroad crew members, authorities said.
The accident occurred at 11:45 a.m., according to CSX Corp. and fire officials, when the locomotive on a train heading northeast struck the 93rd car of a train heading in the opposite direction at a crossover track along Ridgely Street, near Russell Street.
The collision derailed three empty cars from the train that was struck, after it had passed through Baltimore's Howard Street Tunnel on a run from Philadelphia to Cumberland. The locomotive of the other train, heading from Jacksonville, Fla., to North Bergen, N.J., also derailed, said Gary Sease, a CSX spokesman.
A conductor and engineer aboard the New Jersey-bound train, consisting of two locomotives and 34 cars, had injuries that were not life-threatening and were taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center and University of Maryland Medical Center, said Kevin Cartwright, a spokesman for the city Fire Department. Their identities were not released.
None of the three crew men on the westbound train, with two locomotives and 114 cars, was injured, officials said. Neither train carried hazardous material, the CSX spokesman said.
CSX is investigating the cause of the collision. The speed limit on the tracks is 25 mph, and it was unlikely that the trains were traveling fast, Sease said.
"We're cooperating with all the local agencies there, and we'll make information available to the Federal Railroad Administration," he said.
Baltimore residents John and Susan Stankard were waiting for the trains to pass through the Ridgely Street crossing when they saw the accident from their Ford Taurus.
The collision sounded like "cars stacking up," John Stankard said. Stankard said he watched a man get out of the train, looking "woozy." Stankard said he helped a second man down the steps of the damaged locomotive.
Stankard said it looked as though the two trains merged into the same track as they collided. No fire resulted.
Within minutes, several fire engines arrived at the site. Traffic problems on nearby streets were minimal. Half a dozen CSX engineers and representatives arrived about 1 p.m. to assess the collision. By 2:30 p.m., cranes began moving the derailed cars.
The cleanup could be completed by this morning, Sease said. Amtrak and Maryland Rail Commuter passenger service will not be affected because the tracks where the crash occurred are used for only freight operations, he said.