5 Injured in Berlin Train Crash

The train struck a tree-trimming truck.

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Five people are injured after an Amtrak train struck a truck on the tracks in Berlin. (Published Monday, Jun 23, 2014)

    Five people were injured when an Amtrak passenger train struck a tree-trimming truck and wood chipper trailer on tracks in a rural area of Berlin at 9:20 a.m. on Monday.

    The 490 shuttle involved in the crash left New Haven at 8:40 a.m. and was heading to Springfield when it hit the trailer on a set of tracks near Norton Lane, Amtrak officials said.

    Prior to the crash, a tree-trimming crew with Trees Incorporated, a Northeast Utilities contractor, was trying to turn around but got stuck because the gate across the tracks was locked, Gov. Dannel Malloy said on Monday afternoon.

    "For about a half mile, the chipper was carried underneath the front portion of the train," Malloy said. "It is believed at this time that friction caused the tires of the chipper to catch fire."

    Berlin Fire Chief Jim Simons said the train was traveling 70 mph at the time of the collision. Part of the truck became lodged in the front of the train, which derailed.

    The engineer on the train used the emergency brake and quickly began getting people off the train.

    Of the 46 people aboard the train, four were transported to hospitals, Simons said. None of the injuries appear to be life threatening.

    Luke Longcroft, of London, England, was on the train while in the United States for business and said he heard a huge bang and felt a massive jolt at the time of the collision.

    "You could smell burning and the carriages start to fill up with smoke a little bit," he said. "People were calm and people just filed off and got off the train."

    The driver of the tree-trimming truck was also injured, Berlin Police Chief Paul Fitzgerald said during a news conference.

    None of the injuries are life-threatening, police said. No crew members were injured, according to Amtrak.

    Uninjured train passengers went to a "reunification" point to meet Amtrak officials at the Hawthorne Restaurant on the Berlin Turnpike.

    Kathleen Welch, who lives across from the train tracks, said the crash this morning brought back bad memories.

    "When I was a little girl, there was a very serious accident and a whole family besides the husband died," she said.

    A hazmat team from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Management also responded to the scene to evaluate any environmental impact.

    Amtrak service was suspended between New Haven and Springfield for several hours following the crash and was restored around 4:15 p.m., according to a release from the railroad.

    Passengers should expect residual delays throughout the evening.

    Neither Trees Incorporated nor Northeast Utilities commented on the incident Monday.