CSX train derailed, four cars fell into Susquehanna River amid wind storm

A CSX train derailed on a bridge over the Susquehanna River on Friday night, causing four empty rail cars to fall into the water below.

The freight train headed to Richmond, Va., derailed between Cecil and Harford counties at about 8 p.m. Friday, CSX officials said in a statement. No injuries were reported, no hazardous materials were involved and there appears to be no environmental impact, officials said.

Officials said the cause of the derailment remains under investigation, and could not say whether Friday’s strong winds caused the empty rail cars to come off the tracks.

The railroad is working with federal, state and local public safety officials to remove the rail cars from the river. Two cars had been removed by Saturday afternoon, but crews were working to get the other two out of the river as of noon Sunday, according to a CSX statement.

“The safety of the community and everyone on site is our top priority. CSX appreciates the patience of our neighbors in Perryville as we work as quickly as possible to fully remove the rail cars from this area,” the statement said.

Jay Apperson, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment, said a state crew was on the scene for about 15 hours to determine whether there was any risk to environment. Three of the cars were empty and one had some fertilizer residue in it, he said. Apperson said investigators “determined no environmental impact.”

Two cars had overturned on the train bridge, visible to residents in the area, according to Dan Lee, who lives downriver in Perryville. According to the Sunday statement from CSX, those two cars had been moved and the tracks were repaired “so that train service can be restored.”

Lee, whose family owns MacGregor’s Restaurant across the water in Havre de Grace, said he and his wife “heard the bang” when the cars plummeted to the water Friday night.

One of the tankers floated to a dock behind his house, located about a half mile from the bridge on the Perryville waterfront.

The cause of the derailment was still being investigated Sunday, according to the CSX statement.

The Susquehanna River valley acted like a wind tunnel at times during the storm on Friday.

The Maryland Transportation Authority closed the I-95 Tydings Bridge and the Hatem Bridge, as well as other toll bridges around the region, Friday because of high winds — a tree also fell on the Hatem Bridge.

Two trucks overturned atop the Tydings Bridge on Friday afternoon.

The closures caused massive traffic snarls on both sides of the Susquehanna as drivers sought alternate routes to get across, such as the Conowingo Dam.

The highways have since reopened, but downed limbs and wires have caused ongoing issues along roads in the area.

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter David Anderson contributed to this story.



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