Lehigh Valley

Train cars up-righted after accident

Train cars up-righted after accident

UPPER MOUNT BETHEL TWP., Pa. - How do you move a 240,000 pound train car?

It's a question engineers had to answer after a Saturday train derailment in upper Northampton County.

That answer includes giant pulleys hooked to four giant Sidewinders and a giant Bobcat.

The off-the-track cars are part of a Saturday afternoon derailment.

The 42 car train was headed to Wyoming County when six cars went off the tracks just outside the Slateford Inn in Upper Mount Bethel Township.

As you can imagine this wasn't an easy job.

Each one of the train cars is filled with 100 tons of sand.

The total weight of each car is over 230,000 pounds.

The scene drew a crowd with camera's in hand eager to capture the delicate dance between machines and gravity.

"Amazing that they can do it. Makes it look like child's play. Awesome." Neighbor Dan Craney said.

However for Slateford Inn resident Victor Kopczuk the situation is anything but fun and games.

"The black car at the end that's the propane car. If that would have been the one that tipped over and exploded or leaked we would have an evacuation around here," he said.

Delaware Lackawanna Railroad, the company that runs the line, says this is the time of year when spring thaws leave many tracks susceptible to washouts and kinks.

" What can the train company do to make sure this doesn't happen again?" I asked company spokesperson Lori Ransom.

"Continue our regular inspections. Put new ballast, new ties, make sure all spiked well," she replied.

The heavy lifting may be over but work to repair the lines will take another week.

However Gary Davies knows it could have been a lot worse.

"Instead of going that way toward the river could have come this way and took out the buildings and lives," he said.

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