Freight train derails in Hazelwood; no injuries as 11 to 13 cars topple
May 14, 2015 11:14 PM
A police officer stands on the railroad tracks in Hazelwood where a freight train derailed this morning near Irvine Street.
Emergency crews are on the scene of a freight train derailment in Hazelwood this morning.
Eleven rail cars derailed when an Allegheny Valley Railroad freight train passed through Hazelwood this morning.
Emergency crews are on the scene of a derailment of 10 cars in Hazelwood this morning.
By Jon Schmitz and Andrew Goldstein / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
No one was injured and no hazardous materials were spilled when 11 to 13 cars of a long freight train jumped the tracks in Hazelwood on Thursday morning.
The incident was reported about 10 a.m. on a curve in the tracks along Irvine Street, officials said. The street was closed to southbound traffic for a while after the derailment while northbound traffic continued to flow.
John Poister, state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman, said there were no injuries and the derailed cars were empty.
Some of the cars were on their sides, and their wheel sets separated from the car bodies. Eleven cars appeared to be off the tracks but city operations director Guy Costa said railroad officials told him 13 cars derailed. They told him the train was traveling at 10 mph.
Allegheny Valley Railroad confirmed the derailed train belonged to the company but had no further comment. Russell Peterson, CEO of Carload Express, parent company of AVRR, could not be reached for comment.
The derailed part of the train, immediately behind its five locomotives, included mostly covered and open hopper cars. The train also was pulling dozens of tanker cars, but none of them derailed.
It was not immediately clear what the tankers were hauling. They were in a secluded area of track not accessible to the public.
A man who lives on Irvine Street about 100 yards from the derailment said he heard the usual banging noises that trains in the area make, but then “I heard the engines slam down [their power] real quick and I knew something was going on.”
The man, who would not give his name, said he frequently sees trains hauling crude oil, corrosive acid, chlorine and diesel fuel on the Allegheny Valley tracks.
Crude oil trains have been involved in several explosive accidents in the past three years, most recently in North Dakota and West Virginia.
“We’re just lucky that’s not what got pulled off the rails,” the man said.
The Federal Railroad Administration will investigate.
Jon Schmitz: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1868. Andrew Goldstein: email@example.com or 412-263-1352.