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Nashua train derailment closes Bridge Street crossing

Union Leader Correspondent

March 07. 2013 8:50PM

NASHUA - No one was hurt in a 10-car train derailment in the area of Bridge St. in Nashua on Thursday night, but one of the derailed cars is causing concern to rail, police and fire officials because it is putting pressure on the trestle it rests upon.

Sgt. William Dillon of Nashua police said that while the contents of the train are unknown, he would have been informed if there was anything hazardous. He added railroad officials have informed him that the derailment occurred due to a mechanical issue.

While Dillon said there is no current fear the trestle could collapse due to the damage and pressure from the derailed train car, he called the situation a "potential hazard."

The train accident, which was first called in at 7:14 p.m., has forced the closure of the rail crossing at Bridge St., with eight cars derailed behind it and two cars derailed in front of it. Dillon said he could not give a firm estimate as to when the road would reopen.

The fire department is currently responding to the scene, which already has police and railroad officials on site.

Despite multiple cars derailing, Dillon said officers on the scene have informed him that all the train cars are still upright and that there is no hope of repairing the train on-site.

Police did not know who the owner or operator of the train is.

Dillon said railroad officials have told him they are concerned about the integrity of the trestle, which Dillon said is very old. Dillion added the worst-case scenario as he understands it, is the trestle being rendered unusable.

If the trestle is damaged beyond use, Dillion said it could create a problem for rail transportation in southern New Hampshire. "That trestle is on a heavily traveled train route, two or three trains a day use it."

However, complicating matters is the weather, Dillon explained. It was snowing, cold and wet at the site of the crash, hampering first responders.

At the time when the accident first occurred, Police officials said vehicle traffic was heavily backed up, but traffic dissipated when police rerouted everyone through a local neighborhood.

With so many cars derailed and rail and fire officials on site being more concerned with the derailed car potentially damaging the trestle, Dillon said he has no idea when the rail crossing at Bridge St. will reopen.

"There are a large number of rails to be put back on the railroad system along with getting the cars away from trestle itself. Given those factors the rail crossing will not reopen right away, and I am sure the bad weather will play a part in how long it takes."

In a bit of good news Dillon said that many of the cars that derailed were empty, and that those that weren't, "didn't have anything hazardous in them."

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