ShareThis Page
News

8 train cars hauling coal derail in Brownsville

| Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, 10:20 a.m.
Crews work to remove coal from train cars that were hauling coal through Brownsville near Water Street after a derailment took place shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015.  No further information was available on scene.
Evan Sanders | Trib Total Media
Crews work to remove coal from train cars that were hauling coal through Brownsville near Water Street after a derailment took place shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015. No further information was available on scene.
Crews work to remove coal from train cars that were hauling coal through Brownsville near Water Street after a derailment took place shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015.
Evan Sanders | Trib Total Media
Crews work to remove coal from train cars that were hauling coal through Brownsville near Water Street after a derailment took place shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015.
Shirley Gavala-Klink, of Youngstown, Oh., formerly of Brownsville, watches from her brother's yard as crews work to remove coal from train cars hauling coal through Brownsville near Water Street after a derailment took place shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015.  No further information was available on scene.
Evan Sanders | Trib Total Media
Shirley Gavala-Klink, of Youngstown, Oh., formerly of Brownsville, watches from her brother's yard as crews work to remove coal from train cars hauling coal through Brownsville near Water Street after a derailment took place shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015. No further information was available on scene.
John 'Yunko' Gavala Klink, of Brownsville, watches from his yard as crews work to remove coal from train cars that were hauling coal through Brownsville near Water Street after a derailment took place shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015.  No further information was available on scene.
Evan Sanders | Trib Total Media
John 'Yunko' Gavala Klink, of Brownsville, watches from his yard as crews work to remove coal from train cars that were hauling coal through Brownsville near Water Street after a derailment took place shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015. No further information was available on scene.
John 'Yunko' Gavala, of Brownsville, walks back to his home after checking out the scene of a train derailment where train cars  spilled their load, which was traveling through Brownsville near Water Street shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015.  No further information was available on scene.
Evan Sanders | Trib Total Media
John 'Yunko' Gavala, of Brownsville, walks back to his home after checking out the scene of a train derailment where train cars spilled their load, which was traveling through Brownsville near Water Street shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015. No further information was available on scene.

Living next to railroad tracks on Water Street in Brownsville, Stephanie Orris is accustomed to the screeching wheels and rumble of passing rail cars.

But she knew something was wrong Tuesday morning when a loud boom sent her husky-shepherd mix, Roxie, scampering indoors from the backyard.

“She got scared to death and ran in the house,” Orris said. “I'm used to them backing up and making a lot of noise, but that was loud.”

Orris said it “sounded like a train derailment.” She looked outside, she said, but she saw nothing amiss because the tracks were shrouded by trees and houses on the opposite side of the street.

Eight rail cars carrying coal derailed along the Monongahela River as a locomotive moved cars at the nearby Alicia Transshipment Facility, said Gary Broadbent, spokesman with Murray Energy of St. Clairsville, Ohio.

Broadbent said Murray American Transportation Inc., or MATI, is investigating. MATI operates tow boats and barges for Murray Energy, which acquired the Alicia facility from Consol Energy in 2013, according to Murray Energy's website.

“We are currently investigating and cooperating with rail agencies,” Broadbent said. “Our employees are there right now, looking at it and assessing things.”

Fayette 911 said no injuries were reported and vehicular traffic wasn't impacted. Broadbent said Murray's facility is back in operation.

Crews at the derailment site used a backhoe to remove the tons of coal from the derailed cars and load it into triaxle trucks. Large trucks bearing the name “Hulcher Services,” a company that specializes in rail emergencies, arrived shortly before noon with heavy machinery for the cleanup.

Although the cars bore CSX markings and fell onto Norfolk Southern's main line, representatives of both railroads said none of their crews or trains were involved in the derailment.

Susan Terpay of Norfolk Southern said that on Tuesday morning CSX delivered 104 coal-filled rail cars to the Alicia facility, which is located approximately 1 mile from where the cars derailed on the Monongahela River. The rail cars toppled onto Norfolk's main line at approximately 7:45 a.m., where they “fouled” the tracks, she said.

“The cars were not on our tracks,” Terpay said. “NS tracks are near this track, and when the cars derailed, NS' rail line was impacted.”

Doolittle said cars branded with the CSX logo were involved, but CSX was not involved because its crews already had left the dock.

John “Yunko” Gavala, 64, of Water Street and his sister, Shirley Gavala Klink, 59, of Youngstown, Ohio, said they were in Gavala's house next to the tracks when the cars derailed, but they didn't hear it.

“His friend came down and said, did you see the derailment,” Klink said. “I looked out the window, and I'm like, oh, my God.”

Gavala said in the last incident involving a train that occurred behind his house, a trucker nearly lost his life. He said about 15 to 20 years ago, the driver of a tanker truck attempted to beat a train at a crossing.

The tanker truck exploded on impact and was dragged 1,000 to 1,500 feet before the train stopped, Gavala said. He said the explosion rocked the neighborhood and was felt at least nine blocks away.

“It shook like an earthquake,” Gavala said, describing a fireball that enveloped the truck and three locomotives.

Gavala said the truck driver survived because neighbors used fire extinguishers to douse the flames.

Klink said she is thankful there were no injuries in Tuesday's derailment.

“Thank God nobody got hurt,” Klink said. “That's the main thing.”

Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me