Harpers Ferry Train Derailment Damages Bridge on Appalachian Trail

Two freight cars fell into the Potomac River near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, early in the morning December 21, 2019 when part of a Maryland-bound train derailed, according to a CSX spokesman.

The train was traveling between Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and Sandy Hook Road in Maryland when seven grain cars derailed over Winchester and Potomac Railroad Bridge. All the rail cars – including the two that fell into the Potomac River – were empty and no injuries were reported.

The cause of the derailment remains unclear and is under investigation, CSX said. The railway is working to swiftly clean up and restore the area.

Washington County Emergency Management said it “is closely monitoring the scene and reports no injuries, no spills, no hazardous materials and no immediate danger to the public,” according to a statement from the agency.

The Appalachian Trail uses the same bridge and has been closed until further notice, as the bridge will need extensive repairs, according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, conveniently headquartered in Harpers Ferry. Hikers with immediate need for transport between Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and Weverton Road, Maryland should arrange for shuttles. Information about available options can be found at www.appalachiantrail.org/transportation.


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