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Route 5 Back Open after W. Spfld. Train Derailment

(Police Officers help residents evacuate to a school bus)

(Police Officers help residents evacuate to a school bus)

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Route 5 is back open while crews continue to work to on the track damaged by a derailed train Thursday in West Springfield.

The area was closed down to traffic for more than 24 hours between the Memorial Bridge and the North End Bridge.

Thursday night, around 6:00, a couple cars from a train that was passing along came off the tracks.

Crews from CSX who have been working on the situation were able to get the white tanker, the one which contained a hazardous and flammable material, back onto the tracks at about 8:30 p.m.  The second tanker was placed back on the track a short while after.  Both have been moved,  which makes things much safer.

Earlier this morning, three streets – Bridge, Globe, and Railroad Streets – were evacuated as a precaution. Fourteen residents were assisted in their evacuation and transported to the West Springfield Middle School for shelter.

Other residents that were evacuated relocated elsewhere.

At about 7:00 p.m. they were all allowed back into their homes.

A Railroad Street resident, Tom Ladauer told us, “We had to take all the kids and the pets everyone at the same time it was very stressful very stressful with the dogs.”

Another resident we spoke to, Leon Verge, wasn’t evacuated, but he lives right across the street.  He’s been keeping an eye on the tankers since they went off the tracks.

“He must have heard it cause you could hear it and the houses were shaking and the noise and where it hit that bridge it really did it,” explains Verge.

A phone call was made to residents early Friday afternoon alerting them to the possibility of additional evacuations to 30 more streets in the Merrick section, should a leak be detected at any time during the removal and clean-up process.  

No leaks were detected though.

Investigators have been able to determine that a piece of cracked rail, which caused the track to become faulty, led to the derailment.

West Springfield Mayor, Greg Neffinger told ABC40 News he’s pleased with the collaboration of crews and that no one was hurt, “I think they are doing a great job we have all kinds of specialists here from hazmat, CSX, police, general fire department closed the roads getting the residents moved  making sure the residents were comfortable at the middle school, everyone has done a great job.”

The train that was carrying these 2 tankers has since been detached and moved on.


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