UPDATED: Cause Of Train Derailment Under Investigation

April 9, 2019

DICKSON CITY — As temperatures started to rise in the early afternoon, the acting police chief just wanted to run home to change into a lighter shirt.

But his plans were derailed when William Bilinski saw a wheel on the train coming off the tracks near the police station and borough building at 901 Enterprise Drive.

Around noon today, the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad train carrying lumber and sand used for fracking, derailed while on its way from Scranton to Carbondale.

Three cars tumbled completely, and one car was tilted. A total of roughly 10 cars came off the tracks.

The derailment began when one of the wheels hopped off the tracks. The cars started to bounce, building momentum until they fell off the tracks, according to Bilinski.

“It’s not something you see every day,” Bilinski said.

In fact, it’s the first time in the 20 years he’s been on the force that he’s seen it happen.

The derailment stopped other cars across Eagle Lane, preventing drivers from reaching the borough building from Main Street, borough clerk Kathy Simone said.

No hazardous materials were on board, and no injuries have been reported, Bilinski said.

But a rogue rail had crews concerned. According to Bilinski, the rail lifted into the air and twisted before landing.

“The rail is under tension,” he said. “If that was to break free, the amount of force that would come off that could cut somebody right in half.”

The cause is still under investigation by Pete Nicholas, trainmaster and investigator with the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad.

“There’s no danger to public safety,” Nicholas said.

It’s not usually just one thing that causes this; there’s likely a few contributing factors, Nicholas said. He hopes to determine the causes by the end of the day.

A derailing team is supposed to come in to get the trains back on the track, pick up the cars that tipped over, possibly off-load cargo and try and repair the damaged track, according to Bilinski.

“It’s going to be a long process,” Bilinski said.

Check back for updates.

Contact the writers: drosler@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100, x. 5365; droslerTT on Twitter; bkrawczeniuk@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9147; @BorysBlogTT on Twitter