Local businesses not overly concerned about train derailment

Photo Credit: photo: Chris McGrath

The sound of train traffic is nothing new for businesses located on Court Street Road in East Syracuse. Employees who work in that industrial neighborhood say they almost forget that trains pass through constantly because they've become so accustomed to it.

But seemingly everyone in that neighborhood heard the sound of a train rear-ending another around lunchtime Wednesday.

"(It was) a real bad metallic sound that just seemed to continue for several seconds," said Herb Goulet, who works at Barnes and Cone -- a construction company just off the tracks.

Goulet said the crash and derailment caused commotion at the store while emergency crews tended to the trains. He said folks were cut off from the store briefly as phones continued ringing off the hook. Goulet said the crash couldn't have happened at a worse time.

"Construction season in Syracuse is short, so we really have to concentrate on getting all the business we can this time of year," Goulet said.

But the folks at Barnes and Cone and other businesses say they know this could have been much more than a minor hiccup in sales.

"The major concern is if the train was carrying chemicals obviously," said Paul Kitchner, who works at Haun Welding Supply. "If there was a chemical issue, we are fairly close enough so that if chemicals were on the train we could be influenced by that."

It's why some businesses in the area, like Barnes and Cone, have an emergency evacuation plan just in case. Employees we spoke with there say they're just glad they didn't need to use it.