Scene of New Britain Train Derailment Has History of Issues

A train derailed in New Britain late Wednesday in the same area as several other incidents, including a derailment in December 2016 that took days to clear up.

Police said that they received multiple calls around 10 p.m. Wednesday reporting that a train was blocking several intersections in the city. When officers responded they found a Pan Am train derailed and with the cars tilted in the area of Columbus Boulevard near Chestnut Street.

The conductor told police he felt the wheels hit the ground as he was traveling in the area of the Price Rite on Columbus Boulevard. He pulled the e-brake to prevent the cars from tipping over. Three of the four engines derailed, but no one was hurt.

The train was 4,000 feet long and was carrying hazmat materials like propane. The train was put back on the track Thursday morning, but crews were still out Thursday evening repairing the damaged track.

“Engineers from Pan Am did respond to the scene. A plan was set. They sent an additional engine out of the Plainville transfer station here to try and pull the train back to unblock our intersections and open it up to vehicle and pedestrian traffic,” said New Britain Police Capt. Thomas Steck.

Multiple intersections near the Columbus Plaza were blocked by the scene, but everything has since reopened.

The Federal Railway Authority will investigate the incident.

The area has been the scene of other train accidents. In December 2016 a Pan Am train derailed in the same area, forcing the city to spend thousands of dollars in overtime on cleanup. Pan Am reimbursed the city for the cost.

According to police, just last week a train carrying 80 cars got stuck in the area and had to reverse back to Berlin.

When asked for a statement, Pan Am Railways told NBC Connecticut they were investigating the cause. The city of New Britain has sent a letter requesting that Pan Am take action to ensure safety in the area.

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