SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

October 12, 2013

Truck, train collide in West Virginia leaving 1 dead, 2 dozen hurt

(Continued)

Randolph County emergency services director Jim Wise said he confirmed one fatality and at least three people badly injured.

Of the two rail cars on their side, he said, “It was a pretty good impact.”

“The tracks actually go across U.S. 250 there, right on top of the mountain,” he said, adding he knew of no accident at that site in recent memory.

Wise had said initially that 21 people were taken to a hospital in Elkins by ambulances and dozens of others were transported there by bus with lesser injuries. While he said one person was killed, he didn’t know if the fatality was aboard the train or the truck.

Dunbrack said the train involved was operated by the Durbin & Greenbrier Railroad.

The railroad operates several trains in the area, including the Cheat Mountain Salamander that runs Tuesdays through Saturdays in October on a 6.5-hour trip. The railroad said there were three passenger cars Friday on the 88-mile roundtrip that left Elkins on a route taking passengers to elevations of more than 4,000 feet.

The train travels about 25 mph alongside a boulder-strewn river, crossing a bridge barely wider than the train, rumbling through an 1,800-foot tunnel and then passing an abandoned rail bridge.

The overturned passenger cars lay beside the tracks, roped off with yellow crime scene tape as police and others looked on.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved and the emergency responders working the tragic accident in Randolph County this afternoon,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a statement.

Tomblin spokeswoman Amy Shuler Goodwin said state Department of Environmental Protection crews were sent to the site to help clean up a large fuel spill. Neither Goodwin nor Wise knew whether the spill came from the truck or the train.

Route 250 over Cheat Mountain was closed indefinitely.

The driver of the logging truck wasn’t immediately identified.

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