Crews work to remove propane tankers after North Hoosick derailment

RensCo derailment pic 1.jpg

NORTH HOOSICK, N.Y. (WRGB) - Crews brought equipment in from Buffalo Thursday to work on getting the propane tankers that derailed Wednesday night upright, before clearing them from the scene in North Hoosick.

"Last night was complete devastation," said hazardous materials coordinator Ray Davis

Davis described Wednesday night's scene as train cars intermingled with each other - in frigid winter conditions.

"Very dark, and very cold," Davis said.

Crews worked overnight and all day Thursday, monitoring the potentially dangerous scene.

"Most of the challenges for the train crews were the cold, the lighting issues, but they were prepared," Davis said.

The freight train lost five cars off the track, three of which were propane tankers.

"The concentration now is on offloading the affected cars," Rensselaer County public safety director Jay Wilson said.

Public safety officials say moving those propane tanks safely are their main concern.

"We can't X-ray what we have here, " Wilson said. "We can look as best we can, we can evaluate."

They say they're keeping a close eye on the overturned tankers before turning them upright.

"We've monitored, we've had no leaks, as just want to make sure we have it covered," Wilson said.

Officials say the Vermont Railways train was heading toward a curve at the PanAm interchange point. They can't confirm if speed was a factor yet.

"They we're going at a yard speed which is typical walking up to 5/6 mph, were in the process of looking at the exact numbers," said Vermont Railways Vice President Selden Houghton.

Houghton says trains regularly travel this route. He says regardless of speed, conditions could have produced a perfect storm.

"When you look at the geography and soft ground it doesn't take much to end up with a situation like this," he said.

Officials say they hope to have the propane tankers cleared out by Friday night.

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