Lehigh Valley

Train derailment under investigation in Northampton County

Train cars narrowly miss homes, restaurant

Train derails

UPPER MT. BETHEL TWP., Pa. - It was a frightening scene in Northampton County after multiple train cars ran off the tracks, narrowly missing homes and a popular restaurant in Upper Mount Bethel Township.

"Someone said 'the train is tipping over the train is tipping over!'" said Robyn Alfonso, a bartender at the Slateford Inn.

Six cars derailed just yards from the Slateford Inn Saturday afternoon. Three of them toppled over.

"I just happened to see the train go slowly down. Just like that," said Bill Emmos, who was inside the Slateford Inn when it happened.

"Everyone's jaws dropped. They had their phones and cameras out," Alfonso said.

All of the cars were carrying 150,000 pounds of frack sand to be used for the natural gas industry in Wyoming County.

"A mess, a huge mess! Unreal," Alfonso said.

"I was like 'uh oh'! At least it didn't come this way," Emmos said.

The 45-car train on its way from Allentown also narrowly missed some homes, when the cars rolled off the tracks around 4:30 p.m. It happened just 200 yards from the Delaware River.

A conductor and engineer on board made it out safely and uninjured.

Delaware Lackawanna Railroad investigators are still looking into what caused the derailment.

All but eight cars carried on two hours later. Crews on scene said the accident didn't delay any other transports.

The freight was traveling less than 5 miles per hour when it crashed.

"The track is all ripped up," Alfonso said.

Restoration teams are expected to arrive on scene within a few days. Cleanup is expected to take about eight hours.

But it will take much longer for those who witnessed the crash to shake it off.

"I'm going to look out the door and make sure it's not going off the tracks and it's going nice and slow," Alfonso said.


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