A freight train derailed in New Jersey Friday afternoon, forcing officials to suspend NJ Transit service on parts of the Raritan Valley line and snarling the evening commute for thousands of people.
The 141-car CSX freight train was headed to Selkirk, New York, when at least two dozen mostly empty rail cars came off the tracks near Morris Avenue in Union, New Jersey, about 1:30 p.m. Friday, according to a company spokeswoman.
The train had some scrap material and empty tankers, a county spokesman said.
Chopper 4 footage from over the scene shows cars completely off the tracks in a crumpled accordion pattern. At least one car appeared to be crushed.
Fire Chief Michael Scanio said the tracks suffered “severe damage” but that the train cars were empty according to the engineer’s manifest, and there were no injuries.
People were also evacuated from nearby homes and businesses, Scanio said, but were being allowed to return to their homes by late afternoon after hazardous materials teams cleared the accident scene.
NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley line, which runs on those tracks, is suspended between Newark Penn Station and Cranford and between Raritan and High Bridge, the rail agency says. NJ Transit buses are cross-honoring train tickets.
“CSX personnel are working with Conrail and local law enforcement on scene to assess the damage,” the company said. “The safety of the community, our employees and first responders on site is our highest priority.”
The transit suspensions were still in effect late Friday night, and it wasn’t clear how long it would take to restore service.
the cause of the derailment also remains under investigation.