Home Emergency Freight Train Derailment in Westford

Freight Train Derailment in Westford

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View from the bridge on River Street of several derailed Pan Am Railways freight cars. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE
View from the bridge on River Street of several derailed Pan Am Railways freight cars. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

One of the six cars that came off the tracks was a tank carrying Ferrous Chloride solution, according to Westford Firefighters. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE
One of the six cars that came off the tracks was a tank carrying Ferrous Chloride solution, according to Westford Firefighters. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

The Pan Am Railways freight train derailed under the bridge at River and Broadway streets. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE
The Pan Am Railways freight train derailed under the bridge at River and Broadway streets. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

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LATEST UPDATE – A Haz-Mat team that was on the scene of the Nov. 1 train derailment has determined that a tank car was carrying Ferrous Chloride Solution.

There was no leak and no reason to evacuate residents in the highly populated section of Graniteville.

Six cars derailed at River and Broadway streets at 8:40 p.m. Town Manager Jodi Ross announced the code red emergency event while at a public selectmen’s meeting.

Ferrous Chloride Solution is used in dyeing, medicine and sewage treatment. “Contact with molten substance may cause severe burns to skin and eyes,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Fire may produce irritating, corrosive and/or toxic gases. Runoff from fire control or dilution water may be corrosive and/or toxic and cause pollution.”

Railroads are governed by federal interstate commerce laws and are required to carry any legal substance requested by customers. Hazardous materials are denoted by placards on four sides of the car.

The rail system belongs to Pan Am Railways of North Billerica. According to an online map, the train begins at Rotterdam Junction in New York and continues through North Adams, Fitchburg and Ayer until reaching Boston. The train slices the northern corridor of Westford traveling east and west along the Stony Brook over and under bridges, and through the Forge Village, Graniteville, and Nabnasset sections of town. The train also crosses Depot Street at the entrance of almost 300 pristine acres known colloquially as East Boston Camps.

Westford Fire Lieutenant Don Parsons issued a notice on Nov. 2 noting that a derailed tank car carried Ferrous Chloride Solution. Parsons said a reverse 911 call was made to area residents to notify them of the derailment but that there was no release or health risks. Pan Am is presently using heavy equipment to remove the cars as Westford firefighters remain on the scene for support.

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UPDATE – A Hazardous Materials team is on the scene of a train derailment at North Main Street and Broadway in Westford.

The Pan Am Railways freight train ran into trouble earlier this evening, when six cars came off the tracks, but there is no leaking or present danger, according to Westford Town Manager Jodi Ross.

A burning smell could be coming from the creosote on the tracks, Ross said.

Town officials are arranging to send a 911 reverse call to residents within a mile of the mishap alerting them to the circumstances. They are also looking into opening a shelter should evacuations become necessary, Ross said.

Officials from Pan Am Railways are on site and cooperating, Ross said.

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Town Manager Jodi Ross just announced that there’s been a freight train derailment in Westford.

A tweet posted by Westford Fire Department dispatcher Dave Avery says the derailment took place at the intersection of North Main Street and Broadway.

More information to come.