Investigators are on the scene today to determine the cause of an 11-car train derailment Thursday night in Glenville.
There were no injuries reported in the accident, which happened just before 7:30 p.m. near Wyatts Drive off Route 5.
Pam Am Railways engineers were in the process of putting cars together for a train destined for Deerfield, Mass. Some of the cars were carrying soybeans and chicken feed and others were empty, according to Cynthia Scarano, executive vice president for Pan Am Railways,
Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle, who was briefed on the incident, said the situation began when engineers were trying to link cars together in the rail yard just further up the tracks.
“Apparently, four cars in that process somehow got loose and started rolling,” he said.
Because of the sloping grade and the weight of the cars filled with grain, they really started heading down the tracks, according to Koetzle. The engineers tried to catch the train. The four cars hit a parked engine further down the trains, and another engineer coming from the opposite direction to try to catch the cars also hit it as well, authorities said.
Koetzle said it was fortunate that the derailment did not happen on the side of the tracks closes to the Reynolds Mobile Home Park.
The Beukendaal and Rotterdam Junction Fire Departments responded to the accident as well as the state Department of Environmental Conservation officials and Schenectady County HAZMAT to make sure there were no hazardous chemicals leaking.
Those four cars of the 70-car train were not carrying any hazardous chemicals, according to Koetzle. The car further down the track was holding a type of limestone slurry. It derailed but did not leak, he said.
The scene of the accident is very close to Glenville’s wellheads, according to Koetzle.
“The only thing that was spilled was some grain on the tracks, so there’s no threat to the water supply,” he said.
Pan Am has a plan in place to clean up the scene. Koetzle said he is not sure how long the tracks will be closed. That section has to be repaired and bulldozers and cranes have to be brought in to bring the cars upright.
Scarano said the company’s mechanical department is investigating the cause of the derailment.
“There’s a black box on the locomotive. Statements are being taken by the crews. That determination will be made when they get all the evidence in,” she said.
The Federal Railroad Administration officials were notified of the accident, according to Scarano.
She said the first step is to clear the track to determine and repair the damage. Pan Am will try to put as many cars back on the track as possible. If there are any cars that are too damaged to repair, company officials will put them on a flatbed on the tracks and move them out, according to Scarano.
“We’re hoping to get the track back in service in 24 hours,” she said.
Reach Gazette reporter Michael Goot at 395-3105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.