TRAIN DERAILMENT - BRIDGE COLLAPSE!
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Sunday, August 23, 2009 
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A train carrying  coal cars derailed early Sunday morning around 4 a.m. The trains came off their tracks after the railroad bridge over the Mantua Creek collapsed. The tracks were torn up from the bridge up to the crossing near Penn Line Road. The derailed cars were put back on the tracks by late Sunday afternoon. It is expected that the bridge will be out of service for approimately one month. The Emergency Management & Fire Dept. officials were called out ot the scene. (The following article is from the Gloucester County Times. Click on the headline to see thentire article and more pictures).

Freight train derails after bridge over Mantua Creek buckles  
Monday, August 24, 2009 By John Barna
jbarna@sjnewsco.com

The Conrail bridge over the Mantua Creek buckled early Sunday as the end of a train largely carrying cars loaded with coal passed over it, derailing up to 16 cars and rendering useless a key transportation artery to Delaware River industries in Gloucester and Salem counties. The derailed cars tore up railroad ties over approximately a half mile of track and damaged at least three intersections in Paulsboro before the conductor brought the train to a halt. The incident occurred approximately 4:30 a.m. as the train whose coal cargo was heading to a co-generating plant in Salem County was heading south on what is known as the Penns Grove line. As the last cars on the train crossed the creek, a "swing bridge" on the West Deptford Township side of the creek buckled. The cars derailed as far as south of Delaware Street. At mid-afternoon, six cars laden with coal had been uprighted and were on a section of track near Fiorile's Liquors between Beacon Avenue and the damaged bridge. Two uprighted cars were on a section of track between Beacon and Delaware and eight others immediately south of Delaware Street were being uprighted by Conrail crews using two cranes and a piece of equipment resembling a Caterpillar earthmover. "It's tedious," one worker suggested. He had confirmed that all 16 cars had derailed or partially derailed in the incident. Conrail spokesman John Enright could not confirm the exact number of cars that had derailed. In addition to "rerailing" the cars, Enright said Conrail was attempting to determine what caused the section of bridge to buckle and what sort of repairs will be necessary. "We really do not know how long it will take to make the bridge useable again," Enright said. "Hopefully, this is a very temporary situation." Gary Stevenson, a former Paulsboro fire chief whose two-year-old house is a matter of yards from the buckled bridge, said he has become accustomed to a "boom, boom, boom" noise as trains cross the span. "The exact section where they are at," Stevenson said, pointing to Conrail workers surveying the damage. "Boom, boom. The exact section." Conrail crews, "are there twice a week" as of late, Stevenson said. The bridge with an iron A frame dates to 1873 two years older than his grandmother's house on whose ground Stevenson built his residence. A section of track normally is swung open toward the Delaware River, Stevenson noted. That allows boaters to travel the Mantua Creek. As a train approaches, a computer swings the section of track back into place. The line is the only rail access to co-generation plants in Carneys Point Township, the DuPont Deepwater facility, Pureland Industrial Park, Valero Refinery and other industrial businesses, Enright confirmed. "It's a very profitable line," Paulsboro Mayor John Burzichelli said. On most weekdays, at least three trains run through the borough along the rail line. Several of those trains carry enough cars to shut off one end of the borough from the other for a few minutes. Burzichelli was expecting to reach out to U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg to see if repairs could be expedited. The buckling of the track and the derailment caused some aggravation in Paulsboro on Sunday operators of boats such as the "Excess Energy" were turned around as they approached the train bridge and Delaware Street was closed to traffic where it intersected with the Conrail tracks. Burzichelli observed "things could have been a lot worse." No rail cars overturned. Burzichelli noted the affected cars were carrying coal not hazardous liquids. He noted the affected intersections where train cars damaged sections of asphalt roadway can be repaired. Stevenson pointed out that one of the support strands between the top of the A frame and the tracks below had snapped. A curve in the damaged track pointing upstream toward Broad Street was evident to observers. The track is straight on both sides of Mantua Creek approaching the span.

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