Preliminary report blames Ohio train derailment on loose chain caught on track switch handle

Saturday, December 2nd 2006, 6:22 pm
By: News On 6

NORTH BALTIMORE, Ohio (AP) A train derailment that injured three people was caused by a loose chain that became entangled with a switch handle on the tracks, according to a preliminary report.

The chain dragging from an empty railroad car yanked on the switch handle, causing rails under the CSX Corp. train to change positions Thursday and wreck, a report from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio said. A final report is expected to take several months.

The wreckage tumbled onto three cars waiting at a crossing, injuring people in the automobiles.

CSX confirmed the report's findings, spokesman Gary Sease said. The chain was a tie-down device that should have been secured, he said. The company has ordered that switch handles on its tracks be turned away from the direction of oncoming trains, Sease said.

Some of the derailed cars jumped the tracks and derailed part of a second CSX train traveling in the opposite direction on parallel tracks.

Damage to the tracks and crossing area totaled at least $500,000, the report said.