VEAZIE, Maine — Four tankers in a 92-car Pan Am Railways train derailed Wednesday morning near the Penobscot River, but indications are nothing is leaking, local fire and railroad officials said.
“There are no leaks or hazards,” Bangor fire Lt. Greg Hodge said from the end of Riverview Street in Veazie with tankers still on the tracks visible through the woods behind him.
Pan Am Railways called the fire departments in Veazie and Bangor at about 7 a.m. for assistance because the long train reached into both communities, the lieutenant said.
“The train was traveling west from Mattawamkeag and was going to Waterville,” Pan Am Railways Executive Vice President Cynthia Scarano said. “It was a mixed train, with paper, wallboard, scrap metal, wood, a couple sand cars.
“There were four cars that went off,” she said. “Three were [carrying] carbon dioxide and the fourth was just an empty car.”
The railroad company has a crane en route, Scarano said.
“We have a crane on the way up there and hopefully we’ll be able to upright them and put them back on the tracks,” she said.
Hodge said the tankers “essentially listed to the side.”
The carbon dioxide is in sealed pressurized containers. The cause of the derailment is unknown at this point, Hodge said.
“That will be for the railroad [to investigate],” Hodge said.
“It’s a little too early for that,” Scarano said Wednesday morning about a possible cause of the tankers jumping the tracks.
The derailment is not the first for Pan Am this year in Maine that occurred near the Penobscot River. In March, 13 full 31,000-gallon train tanker cars carrying crude oil tipped over and went off the tracks in Mattawamkeag, near Route 2. The derailment spilled just three gallons of oil when the 96-car train jumped the tracks a few yards from the river.
On Feb. 22, two boxcars on a Pan Am freight train also derailed near the Leeds-Wayne town line on the border of Androscoggin and Kennebec counties. No injuries or spills were reported.
Most of Bangor Fire Department’s emergency responders left the Veazie scene Wednesday morning but a few stayed to wait for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Environmental Protection Agency.
“They’ll make sure nothing is leaking … just like we did,” Hodge said.
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