Repost from the Times Herald-Record, Middletown NY
[Editor: Another seemingly minor derailment, involving cars carrying “non-hazardous” products: liquified salt and a plastic compound. No spills, no injuries, no evacuations. The point? Derailments DO happen frequently, and it could have been much worse. – RS]
2 train tanker cars derail in MontgomeryBy James Walsh, Times Herald-Record, May 2, 2016 at 11:48 PM
VILLAGE OF MONTGOMERY – Two railroad tanker cars at the rear of a freight train derailed on a sharp bend of the tracks Monday afternoon, but the public was never in danger.
Village Police Chief Steven Walsh said the tankers carried non-hazardous cargo. The cause of the wreck was undetermined.
“No leaks, no spills, no danger to the public,” Walsh said near the wreck off Route 17K near the village’s downtown.
The train, operated by the Middletown & New Jersey Railroad, was pulling 11 cars including the two that derailed, when the accident occurred at about 3:15 p.m.
Four other tankers were among the cars that remained on the tracks. The tracks are owned by Norfolk Southern Railway.
“It shook the building,” said Rick Wolden, proprietor of Allard Corners Garage. “It was loud. We thought it hit a car.”
Tanker cars carrying crude oil on mainlines, not on local lines like the one passing through the village, have raised concerns from environmental groups and others worried about explosions that have killed dozens of people, led to community evacuations and polluted waterways elsewhere.
The state has conducted track and tanker car inspections for more than a year with federal authorities in an attempt to ward off a hazardous derailment in populated areas including Kingston, Newburgh and Cornwall.
Walsh, the police chief, said one tanker in Monday’s wreck contained liquefied salt of the kind spread on highways before winter storms. That was destined for Nesco in the Town of Montgomery. The other contained a plastic compound bound for Hunter Panels, also in the town. Both tanker cars held about 20,000 gallons.
“The trains go very, very slow through here,” said Dorothy White, whose home overlooks the wreck site from about 30 feet away. The track speed limit is 8 mph through the village, Walsh said.
Village police and volunteers from the Wallkill Engine & Hose Co. of the Montgomery Fire Department were the first emergency responders to arrive. They were joined by the Orange County Hazmat Team, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and the state office of Fire Prevention and Control.
“The first thing we’re thinking about is public safety,” Walsh said. “A fire department assessment determined there was no hazardous cargo and no threat…It could have been worse, and we’re grateful it wasn’t.”