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Cleanup begins after freight train derailment, fire in Maine

By Associated Press
Published: April 16, 2023, 12:58pm

SANDWICH ACADEMY GRANT TOWNSHIP, Maine — Canadian Pacific Railway is leading cleanup and track repairs following a freight train derailment and fire in Maine, officials Sunday.

Three rail workers were treated and released from a hospital after three locomotive engines and six train cars carrying lumber and electrical wiring went off the track Saturday in Somerset County, officials said.

Canadian Pacific is leading cleanup, salvage and repair, working with state agencies and local fire and rescue, said Jim Britt from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Workers were removing derailed locomotives and rail cars, cleaning up crash debris and repairing the rail line. It was unclear how long the process would take.

Some hazardous materials were on the train, officials said, but first responders determined they were not at risk of leaking or catching fire. There was no threat to public safety, officials said.

A preliminary assessment put the blame for the derailment on a washout caused by melting ice and debris, state officials said. But the Federal Railroad Administration, which sent an inspector to the site, suggested it will be weeks before full details of the accident are released. Canadian Pacific has until the end of May to submit a report, an agency spokesperson said.

People were urged to stay away as work continued. The derailment happened near Rockwood, a town of about 300 residents on Moosehead Lake, about 90 miles (140 kilometers) northwest of Bangor.