- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 26, 2001

Marylands MARC Brunswick line trains will not run again today because of a continuing investigation into the Tuesday night derailment of 28 CSX Corp. freight cars in Frederick County.
About 5,000 commuters were forced to find another way to get to work and back yesterday, when morning and evening rush-hour service was shut down after an accident on the Brunswick line, which stops at stations between Martinsburg, W. Va. and Union Station in the District.
"Its been a difficult time for our commuters," said Maryland Rail Commuter service spokesman Frank Fulton. Many of MARCs passengers, he said, have "struggled" to get into work downtown as CSX workers investigated and cleaned up the accident scene a mile east of MARCs Point of Rocks station.
Maryland transit officials said they will try to lessen the accidents impact today by making 15 60-passenger buses available at its Point of Rocks and Brunswick MARC stations, as well as Ride-On buses at its Germantown station, to ferry commuters to the Red Line Shady Grove Metro subway station, which will then take them to Union Station.
The buses will run from 5 a.m. until 7:35 a.m. and 4 p.m. until 8:45 p.m.
Yesterday, over 2,000 MARC customers used Metro during the rush hours as the transit agency honored tickets held by MARC customers, Metro spokeswoman Cheryl Johnson said. Montgomery Countys Ride-On bus service will also honor MARC tickets.
"We dont have enough extra buses to accommodate 5,000 people. Thats why we have a train service," Mr. Fulton said.
To handle the extra load, Metro will continue to have six-car trains on its Red Line, Mrs. Johnson said.
CSX spokesman Rob Gould said the accident happened around 10:30 p.m., when the 88-car freight train traveling from Cumberland to Richmond derailed.
Most of the cars were carrying lumber, sand, sodium and other nonhazardous materials. But two cars contained potassium hydroxide and molten sulfur, both hazardous materials, Mr. Gould said. Some media reports indicated a negligable amount of the potassium hydroxide did leak from one of the rail cars, but Mr. Gould said the amount was not harmful to the public.
The investigation is being conducted by CSX and is ongoing, but Mr. Gould said one track should be open by this morning, although MARC intends to shut down service on the busy rail line for the whole day. Mr. Gould said there was about $500,000 in damage to the rail cars and another $80,000 in damage to 1,000 feet of track. No one was injured.
"It doesnt appear to be human error, on the surface," Mr. Gould said. "We certainly dont like to inconvenience our commuters or our freight-train customers. Its a no-win situation."
There has been no drug or alcohol testing, Mr. Gould said, because the Federal Railroad Administration requires damages to hit at least the $1 million mark for mandatory testing and CSX officials believe the accident was not caused by the trains personnel.
CSX owns and operates the tracks and leases the lines the MARC rail cars run on.

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