Freight train derails near Patapsco Valley State Park

March 26, 2010|By Michael Dresser and Jessica Anderson | Baltimore Sun reporters

A freight train derailed near Patapsco Valley State Park in Baltimore County on Friday morning, according to CSX and county officials.

The train derailed at about 10:30 a.m. near the Howard and Baltimore county lines, close to the Swinging Bridge in Patapsco Valley State Park and north of the Grist Mill Trail. Howard County fire units were first on the scene, according to Baltimore County fire spokeswoman Elise Armacost, and handled the incident.

CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan said eight cars came off of the track. The two-locomotive, 60-car freight train was traveling from Cumberland to Philadelphia, he said, but its derailment had no effect on commuter service.

The train was hauling scrap, sheet rock and plastic materials, he said.

At least seven cars could be seen off the tracks at the site of the accident; at one spot, one freight car was resting across the track, with three other cars detached behind it. The track appears to be bent at the site of the derailment.

Julia Lynch, spokeswoman for the Howard County Fire Department, said the train was carrying a load that did not contain hazardous materials. She confirmed that no injuries were reported.

The train looked to be carrying a mix of cargo. A few cars were observed carrying coal; a number of cars still on the track were labeled as carrying liquefied petroleum gas. Other cars were labeled as carrying sodium hydroxide solution, sodium chlorate or liquefied carbon dioxide. A white powdery substance spilled from one of the most damaged cars and down the hillside into Patapsco State Park.

The Maryland Department of the Environment said there were 10 cars with hazardous materials that did not derail.

Sullivan said cleanup crews are on their way, but it is unclear how long the process will take.

"We're focusing on working safely," he said.

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