Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sister Newspapers' News

September 4, 2012

Runaway rail car evades U.S., Canadian security

— Niagara Falls, N.Y. - A runaway rail car that crossed the Whirlpool Bridge from the U.S. into Canada wasn't investigated by law enforcement agencies for 11 hours, authories report.

The security breach is being investigated by police on both sides of the border.

The incident happened about 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 12 when an autorack — a two-level vehicle carrier train car — somehow broke free from the CSX rail yard in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and started rolling down the tracks toward Canada via the Whirlpool Bridge.

An official with CSX said the incident is being investigated as vandalism. It's believed someone pulled a pin connecting the 145-foot-long, 20-foot-tall car to a string of other train cars and released the brake.

Michael Scioli, an agent with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said alarms on the Canadian side of the bridge went off between 1:30 a.m. and 1:45 a.m. alerting American border guards of an issue. Agents on the U.S. side checked the bridge for anyone or anything attempting to cross, but the car was already out of sight.

“Normally when the alarms trip there's plenty of time for our agents to respond to someone trying to cross into the U.S.,” he said.

Because the train car rolled into Canada, it was the Canadian agency's duty to investigate.

Jean D'Amelio-Swyer, a spokeswoman for the CBSA, said in a statement the agency is “working with our partners including the rail carrier to review the matter and to ensure that mechanisms are in place to prevent any such recurrence.”

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Details for this story were provided by the Niagara Falls, N.Y., Gazette.

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