Trail Carrying Sand, Lumber Derails In Dickson City

April 10, 2019

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

But William Bilinski’s plans were derailed when he saw a wheel on the train coming off the tracks near the police station and Borough Building at 901 Enterprise Drive.

Around noon Tuesday, three Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad train cars carrying lumber and sand used for fracking, tumbled off the track; a fourth car tilted. A total of roughly 10 cars came off the tracks. The train was traveling from Scranton to Carbondale at about 10 mph.

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. Eagle Lane and Enterprise Avenue reopened quickly, according to the Dickson City Police Facebook page.

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.”


Crews worked into the night Tuesday, using heavy equipment to remove twisted metal and train wheels from where rail cars lay on their sides or off the track.

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 hoped to determine the causes by the end of the day.

The “slow speed derailment” shouldn’t have a negative impact on shipments, as some were already north of the accident and were expected to be delivered on time, according to Larry Malski, president of the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority.

Malski expected repairs to be made within a few days.

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

CLAYTON OVER, staff writer, contributed to this report.

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