Train Derails at Harpers Ferry, Damaging Appalachian Trail Bridge
No one was injured. The cause remains under investigation.
Some cars went into the river, according to multiple reports.
"I was in the bath at the time," Harpers Ferry Town Recorder Kevin Carden reported. "It was so loud that it shook our house a half-mile away."
The derailment damaged the bridge and a pedestrian walkway that is part of the Appalachian Trail .
"It's the only way to cross from here directly into Maryland ," Carden stated.
A Facebook page devoted to Washington County fire calls states that the incident happened at 2:48 a.m.
In an email to Herald-Mail Media, CSX spokesman Bryan Tucker wrote:
"This morning at about 2:30 a.m. , an eastbound train derailed seven empty grain cars between Harpers Ferry, W.Va. , and Brunswick, Md. Two of the seven cars slid into the Potomac River .
"All seven cars were empty and there were no hazardous materials involved and no injuries as a result of the derailment.
"CSX appreciates the swift response of the West Virginia and Maryland first responders. CSX will work swiftly and safely in the cleanup and to restore the area. The cause of the derailment is under investigation."
At 11 a.m. , the Washington County Division of Emergency Services announced that Sandy Hook Road was closed because of the derailment. The road will remain open to local traffic and emergency services.
The road closure is expected to last until midnight and could extend into Sunday morning, according to the email.
The MARC commuter train line was not affected, the county reported.
The derailment is affecting access to parts of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park , the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail . According to the Harpers Ferry park website:
The footbridge attached to the CSX bridge is indefinitely closed.
Park users will be unable to cross between Harpers Ferry and C&O Canal towpath.
Park users will be unable to cross from Harpers Ferry to the Maryland Heights trail.
The footbridge is part of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail . AT hikers should check in with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for updates about the trail.
Other areas of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park , such as The Point and John's Brown Fort , are closed temporarily. Those areas will reopen once the cleanup and assessment are complete.
Harpers Ferry Mayor Wayne Bishop issued a written statement saying that CSX emergency crews remained at the scene as of 11 a.m. today.
"Thankfully, there are no injuries or environmental concerns reported at this time. Please avoid this location and allow the emergency crews to complete their work," Bishop wrote.
He reported the pedestrian bridge will be closed "for an undetermined amount of time."
Herald-Mail Media reporter Matthew Umstead contributed to this report.