TRAINS TIE UP TUNNEL IN A TANGLE \ FOUR CSX ENGINES ROLL DOWN HILL TOGETHER, HIT FIFTH BY AKRON TERMINAL.
Jim Carney, Beacon Journal staff writer

This was a job for Superman.

But when he wasn't available, they called for Supercrane.
Four connected CSX diesel engines got loose in the CSX Akron terminal yard on North Arlington Street near Forge Street yesterday morning, crashing into a fifth engine and leaving two others stuck in a tunnel for most of the day.

The two blue-and-yellow engines were derailed under a 100-year-old bridge on the main CSX east-west line. One of the engines was wedged against the inside wall of the tunnel. A third engine was slightly off the tracks, officials said.

Each of the engines weighs from 150 to 180 tons, railroad officials said. Three cranes, referred to as sidewinders, were brought in during the afternoon to lift and remove the engines.

The incident happened at 6:45 a.m. as four engines that were hooked together "got away" on a "y" track and slammed into a fifth engine that was parked on the main terminal's track, said David Dech, the terminal trainmaster.

Two CSX employees who were on the engine that was struck by the four others suffered minor injuries, said Akron Fire Lt. Al Bragg, the department's public information officer.

When the collision happened, as much as 500 gallons of diesel fuel spilled out of the train that was hit and onto the track area, Bragg said.

Fire crews plugged the leak, diked up the spilled fuel and cleaned the ground, Bragg said. Then the cranes got to work.

"It will be a long night," said Dech, who guessed that removing the derailed engines could last late into the night or early today.

Along with the CSX crews, employees from utility companies and fiber optic firms converged on the scene to see whether the derailment had damaged any underground lines.

About two dozen workers, including several from MCI WorldCom, stood by as the cleanup progressed. The MCI employees were there to see that buried fiber optic lines were not disrupted, said Harry Green, a lead technician with MCI WorldCom.

If the line was cut, he said, Akron would become "isolated from the network."

The train wreck also brought out train enthusiasts and spectators, who stood on the North Arlington Street bridge to watch the cleanup.

Steve McMullen, 19, of Akron, who works as an attendant at the Amtrak Akron train station, was on the scene snapping pictures shortly after his shift ended at 7 a.m.

Both he and friend, Ian Kline, 17, of Akron, described themselves as true blue rail fans.

Jim Norris, 60, of Akron, said he has seen a lot of trains in his day, but had never seen anything like this. Norris is an Akron Public Schools plumber who also volunteers with CSX to talk about railroad safety with kids.

"I never saw two try to go through a tunnel at the same time," he said as he took pictures.

Art Clappe said he was waiting by the CSX track yesterday morning to shoot pictures of trains when he noticed there was a derailment on the track below. He said he has taken 40,000 pictures of trains in his life.

"I drove a truck, but I grew up on the railroad," said Clappe, 64, who retired as a truck driver for Consolidated Freightways. His father, M.R. Clappe, worked as a conductor for the AC&Y Railroad for 38 years.

Clappe said he wanted to work on the railroad himself, but failed the railroad vision test. He passed a driving test for trucks the next day, and the rest is history.

He was intrigued by the train wreck.

"I couldn't understand what in the world happened," said Clappe. "There were two of them side by side and they weren't supposed to be like that."

Gary Wollenhaupt, director of corporate communications for CSX Transportation in Jacksonville, Fla., said the accident occurred after a 69-car train carrying automobiles from Philadelphia to Detroit stopped at the Akron terminal. It paused to switch engines early yesterday because its heater was not working properly.

A replacement engine was parked on the terminal's track and the train's four engines, including the one with the defective heater, were parked on the "y" track up a hill from the terminal, the spokesman said.

Somehow, Wollenhaupt said, the four connected engines rolled down the tracks into the parked locomotive.

CSX is investigating why the incident happened, he said.

Workers drained the diesel fuel out of one of the engines to avoid another spill before the cranes from Texas-based Hulcher Services began to lift the engines.

The replacement cost on a new diesel engine is about $1.5 million, Wollenhaupt said, adding that it is unknown how much damage was done to the derailed engines.

"It is a very rare occurrence," he said. "There are a number of safety rules that govern this kind of thing to make sure your locomotives are safe and secure."

Fire Lt. Bragg said the location of the wreck was strange.

"It is an odd place to happen," he said. "It may be a good thing that the other one was there. That would have been rolling down the tracks."


Illustration:PHOTO: by JOCELYN WILLIAMS / Akron Beacon Journal photo
(2 - both in color) // MAP: Akron Beacon Journal -- showing location
of derailment

1) Two diesel engines sit crammed under a 100-year-old bridge on the main CSX east-west line. Four engines that were linked rolled away from an Akron terminal yard at 6:45 yesterday morning and struck a fifth train. CSX has yet to determine how the trains got loose. 2) Cranes roll up to the crash site of two CSX diesel engines stuck under a bridge. The cranes, or sidewinders, arrived yesterday to remove the trains, each of which weighs 150 to 180 tons.




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Copyright (c) 2000 Akron Beacon Journal
October 12, 2000
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  SIDE COLLISION             on Oct 11 2000    CSX Transportation [CSX ]                RR Report 100031011          
Involving  LIGHT LOCO(S)       at 6 :30AM                                                                              
Locos(Total/derailed)   5/3    in Ohio           CSX Transportation [CSX ]                 Track Maintenance RR        
Cars(Total/derailed)   0/0       County of SUMMIT                                                                     
Speed 014  Eqp Dmg  $85,250         Near or in AKRON JCT                                                               
                                                                                                                      
....................Track information....................                                                              
Yard       Damage     $426   Milepost 0128.0  FRA Class 2       Total Casualties:  0 Deaths and 2  Injured             
....Method(s) of operation   ....Cause(s)....                                                                          
Yard limits                                                                                                            
Failure to properly secure engine(s) (railroad employee)                                                               
Time table/train orders                                                                                                
                                                                                                                      
RAIL UNDER UNIT-ALL DESTROYED; HLCX7167/L3-6; BOTH CSXT2719 AND CSXT8606 ROLLED TO THE OUTSIDE AND WEDGED TOGETHER. CONS
IST ROLLED DOWN THE CONNECTION TRACK, STRIKING LOCO 2719 IN THE SIDE.                                                  
                                                                                                                      
****Additional Report(s) filed by other railroads, or because of involvement of other equipment or track****           
                                                                                                                      
   SIDE COLLISION             on Oct 11 2000    CSX Transportation [CSX ]                RR Report 100031011          
Involving  LIGHT LOCO(S)       at 6 :30AM                                                                              
Locos(Total/derailed)   5/3    in Ohio           CSX Transportation [CSX ]                 Track Maintenance RR        
Cars(Total/derailed)   0/0       County of SUMMIT                                                                     
Speed 014  Eqp Dmg  $70,000         Near or in AKRON JCT                                                               
                                                                                                                      
....................Track information....................                                                              
Yard       Damage       $0   Milepost 0128.0  FRA Class 2       Total Casualties:  0 Deaths and 2  Injured             
....Method(s) of operation   ....Cause(s)....                                                                          
Yard limits                                                                                                            
Failure to properly secure engine(s) (railroad employee)                                                               
Time table/train orders                                                                                                
                                                                                                                      
RAIL UNDER UNIT-ALL DESTROYED; HLCX7167/L3-6; BOTH CSXT2719 AND CSXT8606 ROLLED TO THE OUTSIDE AND WEDGED TOGETHER. CONS
IST ROLLED DOWN THE CONNECTION TRACK, STRIKING LOCO 2719 IN THE SIDE.                                                  
                                                                                                                      
=====Accident     6 =========================================================================================