Train derailment in East Syracuse

An up close look at the train derailment / photo: Tracy Murphy

Emergency and cleanup crews were on the scene Wednesday of a train derailment in East Syracuse.

The crash happened shortly before 12:30 p.m. near Court Street Road, behind a stone and cement business called Banes & Cone. One train reportedly rear-ended another, and some train cars were jammed together and are partially resting on top of each other.

CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan tells CNY Central that one train was travelling from Cincinnati to Selkirk, New York with two locomotives and 58 freight cars. That train was hit from behind by a second train headed from Chicago to South Kearney, New Jersey, carrying two engines and 46 cars. A total of two locomotives and four freight cars have dislodged from the tracks. Both trains were headed in the same direction.

Sullivan says some diesel fuel has spilled onto the ground as a result of the crash, but the leak has been stopped. Two crew members were taken to local hospitals with what has been termed minor injuries.

CSX says it has sent contractors to begin cleaning up the derailment scene.

The mess on the rails was also causing a mess at the ticket counter. As trains pulled into Syracuse, Amtrak staff unloaded them and rerouted passengers to buses. Randy Chatman was supposed to start with a traveling show near Albany tonight but now he's not sure when his job will begin.

"I'm going to have to meet up with my friends somewhere else in the country - probably as far as tomorrow," said Chatman.

The freight derailment threw much of Amtrak's northeast and Midwest service for a loop. As other travelers considered their options, Brazilian heavy metal band "Miracle" was just trying to figure out where they were. The band just played a music festival in Chicago and needed to get to Boston.

"We don't have much information. We try to ask but they don't know what to do. It's hard," said one of the band members.

Repair crews were making progress and one rail line had opened up by this evening.

Randy Chatman found out he probably wouldn't make his stage debut on Wednesday, but all he could do was smile, roll with the punches and catch up with his traveling show somewhere down the road.

"No point in being upset. It's not going to get you anywhere - you're still going to be here upset," he said with a laugh.

A portion of Court Street Road was blocked off while crews worked at the scene on Wednesday night.

A spokesperson for CSX tells CNY Central the investigation into what caused a train derailment in East Syracuse Wednesday remains under investigation. Bob Sullivan said the main train track has been re-opened and he expects the second track to open later this evening. He did not have an update on crew members who were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

CNY Central's Chris McGrath spoke with businesses on Court Street Road in East Syracuse about their level of concern following the train crash and derailment.