I’m sure most people have heard the news by now but when a train crashes in your downtown it seems worth mentioning. I have to admit it was a bit eerie to hear the news that the Crain Avenue bridge was hit since in Thursday’s blog I had just talked about looking through the files to see if there had ever been a bridge failure in Kent and someone dropped me a note saying that the Crain Avenue bridge had collapsed back in 1964. I wasn’t advocating a re-enactment of the bridge collapse but that’s almost what we got yesterday. As you might imagine this wasn’t exactly what we had in mind when we planned to replace the Crain Avenue Bridge.
Here’s the facts as I know them:
Sometime between 1:30 and 2:00 pm Thursday afternoon a southbound train on the lower CSX tracks derailed and collided with the Crain Avenue bridge. Approximately 18 cars derailed with most of them tipped to one side of the tracks or the other. At this point all of the tracks are shut down. The 2 cars that actually hit the bridge are piles of twisted metal that are standing upright adjacent the bridge. The rail cars were full with pulverized coal much of which has spilled out along the tracks. There were no injuries and there was no apparent private property damages other than to the bridge structure and a city sewer line which has been cracked open.
Bob Brown is working with Central Maintenance to set up a bypass sewer to prevent any further sewage from spilling out on the scene. We are not expecting any service interruptions for our sewer customers. The location of the sewer break is on the Water Street side of the tracks so the sewage that spilled has collected in pools between the tracks and Water Street and it does not appear to present any concern for getting into the river as it is contained a good distance from the river. The spilled coal has also served as an absorbant media for the wastewater. The Ohio EPA has been on the scene along with our Health Department to inspect the sewer issues as well.
Fire Chief Williams is in charge on the scene and he has the regional EMS team on site along with our Police, Central Maintenance and Engineering personnel. Obviously the bridge is closed and will remain closed until all the wreckage has been removed from under the bridge and a safety assessment has been performed on the extent of the structural damage to the bridge. I am not able to offer timelines at this point for how long the clean up will take but the CSX crews are on scene and I am sure that they will work around the clock to get the tracks reopened as soon as possible.
At this point it is unclear what may have caused the derailment.