A 330,000-pound locomotive derailed Wednesday near the Remington Rand building in Middletown, spilling hundreds and possibly thousands of gallons of diesel fuel. Middletown police and firefighters responded to the report of a train derailment in the city's North End after 12:30 p.m.
The train, labeled 3906 Providence & Worcester, jumped the tracks near Johnson Avenue and North Main Street, in front of the city dump. It has a capacity to hold 3,000 gallons of fuel.
A city excavator quickly moved in with sand to stem the flow of fuel as a Hazmat truck and state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection staff pitched in. "We diked each end of the tracks," said Fire Marshal Al Santostefano, because a waterway runs perpendicular to the rails.
The DEEP director of communications Dennis Schain says personnel on scene are taking this spill seriously, as it is close to the Coginchaug River.
"We are emptying the fuel tank and addressing soil pollution and are responding as quickly as possible to get the remaining fuel out of the tank and to clean up contaminated soil."
"A contractor is being brought in to do that and we'll make sure that every precaution is taken to try to prevent and minimize the amount of fuel that makes its way to the river," Schain said. "If they determine it's needed, they'll clean the culvert and put booms out on the river to capture any fuel that makes it into the river. It's a pretty comprehensive response to try to manage any impact."
Crews from Providence & Worcester are expected to arrive soon to right the train. "They have the equipment for it," Santostefano said.
He spoke to the engineer of the locomotive before he left the scene, Santostefano said. "'After 28 years,'" Santostefano said the engineer told him, he still gets frazzled when something like this happens.
It's unclear what prompted the incident. Police said there were no injuries. Officials are on the scene investigating.
Check back with Middletown Patch for details as they emerge.