East Carson Street near site of train derailment now open to traffic
East Carson Street on Pittsburgh’s South Side reopened Thursday afternoon for the first time since Sunday’s Norfolk Southern freight train derailment.
The Department of Transportation approved the street reopening, allowing one lane nearest Mt. Washington to remain closed so Port Authority of Allegheny County work crews have room to repair light rail tracks that were damaged by freight cars that fell onto the track.
The train derailed Sunday afternoon near Station Square and caused extensive damage, a Port Authority spokesman said.
PAT must replace 1,600 feet of track and 4,000 feet of overhead electrical line and could not provide a time line for when its nearby Station Square station might reopen.
“Today is the first time we’ve been in there to see the extend of damages,” spokesman Adam Brandolph said. “It appears worse than we initially thought, and it’s still too early to say how long the station will be out.”
He said it’s unclear if insurance will pay for the repairs. If it doesn’t, he said, the authority would seek reimbursement from the railroad.
“That might be covered under insurance, but we certainly want to be sure that Allegheny County taxpayers are not paying for this,” Brandolph said.
Pittsburgh is also considering reimbursement for time spent at the scene by city police, firefighters, paramedics and other personnel.
The Port Authority is rerouting trains traveling to and from Downtown and the South Hills around the station and said T riders should expect delays.
PAT opened the Wabash Tunnel to outbound traffic Thursday afternoon and said the tunnel would be open to inbound traffic at 6 a.m. Friday.
East Carson and the Smithfield Street Bridge have been closed since the train ran off its tracks Sunday afternoon. The closures have caused traffic headaches, particularly during rush hours.
Pittsburgh reopened the bridge early Thursday.
The train sent seven intermodal rail cars over a hillside precariously close to the T station, interrupting light rail service between Downtown and the South Hills.
Railroad traffic was restored Wednesday to both mainline tracks where the train derailed.
Joe Napsha and Bob Bauder are Tribune-Review staff writers.