Derailed train no longer idling, but blamed for crash

February 13, 2018 07:01 PM

JOHNSBURG - There it sits, not far from the crossing on Route 28, a derailed locomotive. For the past week, the engine was running.

"All of the sudden I noticed the train. No lights flashing. I guess instinct I hit my brakes," said Dan Hitchcock, who was driving south on State Route 28 Friday as he has countless times before. However, this time he saw a running train car he thought was headed for the road.

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Hitchcock slammed on the brakes. The abrupt stop caused the plow on the front of his truck to lurch forward and catch on the protruding rail line that crosses the road.

Hitchcock was knocked out. His plow was destroyed and his truck might be totaled.

"There should've been a sign here, my feelings, 'derailed train,' something flashing to slow people down," he said Tuesday afternoon,

This all started last Tuesday. The Saratoga and North Creek Railway engine was clearing ice and snow when it derailed about 100 feet north of the highway crossing. Because it's a diesel engine and doesn't use anti-freeze, the train was forced to idle all day and all night for a week. Neighbors were complaining of diesel fumes and engine noise.

Andrea Hogan, the town supervisor, said she’s relieved that the odor and noise have stopped.

Warren County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Stockdale says the railway notified them that someone entered the train car without permission either late Monday or early Tuesday. Stockdale says they are trying to figure out if someone climbed on board and shut down the locomotive. If the engine froze as a result of the shutdown, the person responsible could be on the hook for big money.

The railway says if the train was crossing the road, the gates would have come down and the warning lights would go on, and they say no extra signage is needed.

"As long as those warning devices are not active, the public should not be on the lookout for any other type of signage," said Justin Gonyo, general manager of Saratoga and North Creek Railway.

Even though the engine is no longer running, Dan Hitchcock says some temporary signs couldn't hurt.

"I mean somebody could get killed because of this."


WNYT Staff

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