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10 cars of cargo train carrying cooking oil and plastic pellets derail in New York, 2 fall in river

By Associated Press
Published: February 8, 2024, 7:52am

PITTSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Ten cars of a cargo train carrying plastic pellets and cooking oil derailed in upstate New York, with two ending up in a river, authorities said.

The cars, part of a 94-car train operated by Berkshire & Eastern Railroad, derailed about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday in Rensselaer County, in the village of Valley Falls.

No injuries were reported and no hazardous materials were involved, Tom Ciuba, a spokesperson for the railroad, said early Thursday.

“Two of the railcars have fallen into the Hoosic River — with one leaking a small amount of cooking oil and another leaking a small amount of plastic resin,” he said in an email.

Photos from the scene showed cars off the tracks and lying on their sides along a narrow embankment alongside the river.

“Contractors are on site to fully respond to the incident, and rerailing of the cars should take several hours,” Ciuba said. “A thorough investigation into the cause is also underway.”

Part of a state route in the area was closed, county authorities said.

New York environmental commissioner Basil Seggos said on social media from the scene early Thursday that the situation had been stabilized and efforts had shifted to recovery of the derailed cars, including two he described as “teetering.”

Norfolk Southern locomotives powered the train, but that company was otherwise not involved, their spokesman said. Railroads routinely share locomotives under various arrangements.

The accident was the region’s second derailment in six months. About 17 cars of a CSX freight train derailed in nearby Amsterdam, northwest of Albany, in August, disrupting Amtrak service and prompting road closures. Authorities said the majority of the cars that derailed were empty oil tankers.

On Wednesday, the locomotive of a Great Western Railway cargo train derailed in northern Colorado, spilling hundreds of gallons of diesel. The fuel did not get into any waterways, fire officials said.

In the wake of a fiery derailment in East Palestine, Ohio a year ago, the major freight railroads announced a number of steps to improve safety, but reforms have stalled in Congress.

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