Freight train derails near Patapsco park

No hazardous materials in the eight cars damaged in accident, officials say

March 27, 2010|By Michael Dresser and Jessica Anderson

A Friday morning freight train derailment near Patapsco Valley State Park in Baltimore County sent eight cars from the tracks but caused no injuries or service disruptions, officials said.

The accident involving a CSX train occurred 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. CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan said the 60-car freight train was traveling from Cumberland to Philadelphia.

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 appeared to be bent at the site of the derailment.

The train also 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 bore labels for 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 Valley State Park.

Sullivan said the derailed cars were hauling scrap, sheet rock and plastic materials. He acknowledged that some of the other cars - those not damaged in the accident - contained hazardous materials. The Maryland Department of the Environment said there were 10 cars with hazardous materials that did not derail.

Though the accident happened in Baltimore County, Howard County fire units were first on the scene, said Baltimore County fire spokeswoman Elise Armacost. Fire and other emergency personnel cleared the area by midafternoon while CSX cleanup crews worked on righting the toppled cars.

Though cleanup lasted into the evening, the derailment had no effect on commuter service on the line - which in the area of the accident is dedicated to freight traffic, Sullivan said. He had no immediate estimate for how long the cleanup would take.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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