HARPERS FERRY — A report released by the Federal Railroad Administration recently determined that an engineer error caused the CSX train derailment in Harpers Ferry on Dec. 21, 2019.
The report says, “As the B80220 began to make a pulling move from a complete stop near BAD 0.2, the engineer used excessive force to make the initial movement with the brakes still applied resulting in a string line derailment.”
Seven cars were derailed both on and off the tracks, some falling into the river below.
The incident occurred at the train was moving eastbound, crossing the bridge from Harpers Ferry into Maryland. Emergency responders received the call around 2:45 a.m. that morning, and there were no injuries due to the derailment.
CSX official Bryan Tucker previously stated that the cars were “empty grain cars,” assuring the public that no hazardous material were being carried at the time of the incident.
Equipment damage was said to be $666,456 in the report, while track, signal, way and structure damage was $100.
The incident damaged the Goodloe Byron Memorial Footbridge, which connects Harpers Ferry to the C&O Canal in Maryland. Many tourists and hikers take advantage of the bridge as they explore both Lower Town and Maryland Heights.
Repairs to the footbridge recently began with an expected completion date in late July.