Pan Am, FRA Investigating New Britain Train Derailment - NBC Connecticut

Pan Am, FRA Investigating New Britain Train Derailment

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016)

    Two investigations are currently underway to figure out what caused a train derailment in New Britain late Tuesday afternoon.

    Pan Am Railways and the Federal Railroad Administration are conducting two sepearte investgations. 

    "We don’t anticipate getting a cause for at least a couple weeks, however, what we can say, though not official, looking at mechanical error of some sort, what that is, we won’t know until the investigative process is complete," New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters.

    A team from the Federal Railway Administration (FRA) inspects part of the train and its tracks in New Britain, along with dozens of Pan Am crew members. 

    Massachusetts-based Pan Am owns the 24-mile stretch of railway track from Berlin to Waterbury.

    The task is to figure out what caused nine cars carrying construction and demolition debris to derail and flip over.

    "It’s scary. It certainly makes you think and question. What are the safety measures to take in regards to the railway. And its good because its opening the lines of communication," Stewart added.

    Which is something the city has struggled with in the past.

    Pan Am tells NBC Connecticut that these tracks are inspected once a week, and loads can’t leave unless visual inspections show they are quote “defect-free.”

    And in this case, Pan Am’s vice president said no defects were found yesterday.

    The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters also checked a federal database and did not find any issues with the Pan Am tracks in Connecticut.

    An FRA spokesman tells NBC Connecticut that its inspectors are looking at a number of variables to determine a cause, as well as, assess the current condition of the tracks.

    Pan Am says they’ll be analyzing two black boxes recovered on site.

    The boxes will show speed, when the conductor hit the breaks and when the horn was blown, along with other vital information.

    If no cause is found between that and an inspection of the train tracks, they’ll look at the actual cars, to see if there is some sort of defect.

    "I do want to ensure the safety and security moving forward. This railway does go through the heart of town, and we’ll do everything we can to ensure pan am is 110 percent on board giving us all information and will remain constantly committed to that,"  Stewart added.