Repairs to railroad in Great Barrington to be done by next week

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GREAT BARRINGTON -- The rail line repairs needed to get a derailed train on the Berkshire Line in the village of Housatonic to continue chugging northbound will not be complete until early next week, according to an executive with the Housatonic Railroad Company.

Ed Rodriguez, vice president and general counsel for Housatonic Railroad Inc., said seven of 17 derailed railroad cars were back on the track by Friday afternoon.

The 43-car train was headed northbound from Canaan, Conn., to Pittsfield when it derailed because of a broken rail around 7 p.m. on Thursday near the village center of Housatonic. No one was hurt.

One of the cars that derailed came to rest against a nearby building containing art studios, Great Barrington Police said.

"It's a large derailment in a sense there are 17 cars involved, but bear in mind those 17 cars are all upright and derailment ... [it can mean] a wheel off the track," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said that there is limited damage to the freight cars, but the company will shoulder expenses related to the broken rail and some other minor damages.

Sixteen of the 17 cars were empty, Rodriguez said, with one car carrying construction debris. There were no hazardous material spilled, police said.

"In terms of damage and the job of re-railing the cars, this is a minor derailment," Rodriguez said.

Though there was no immediate concern of spilled hazardous waste, the Massa chusetts Department of En vironmental Protection on Thursday evening responded as a precaution. The Federal Railroad Administration also responded.

The damages are expected to cause some freight train delays.

To reach John Sakata:
jsakata@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413)-496-6240.


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