A train car was derailed near the Thrifton Road bridge on Thursday, according to Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin.
Only one train car was derailed, and that car wasn’t carrying hazardous materials, according to Wilkin.
The village of Greenfield, Greenfield Police Department, Ross County Sheriff’s Office, and Ross County Emergency Management Association responded to the scene, and the post said they were involved in the incident for most of Thursday evening.
“An investigation is underway, and a company will be on-site tomorrow to rerail the train, repair the rail, and deliver the materials to its destination tomorrow,” the village said on its website.
Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin told The Times-Gazette the car was back on track Friday morning, and the train, which was carrying materials for Candle-Lite in Leesburg and Adient in Greenfield, delivered the materials Friday afternoon.
“They’ve gotten the rail into shape to get the materials to the customer, and they’re going to get the train out of here,” Wilkin said. “Monday morning, there’s some maintenance repair work that has to happen so the gauging is maintained. Services will not be hindered beyond that point.”
Wilkin explained that the ”gauging” refers to the width of the rails.
Though the village is covering the cost to repair the section where the car derailed, the Thrifton Road bridge is part of the Martin-Marietta line, which falls in Ross County, Wilkin said.
“This section of railroad is quite interesting. They’re not even sure if the derailment happened on our line,” Wilkin said. “The ownership line is not as defined as it should be. Martin-Marietta owns the second portion of that line in Ross County where the derailment happened. We, the village, are going to absorb the costs of the derailment because there are a lot of jobs dependant on Adient getting their materials.”
Wilkin said there were only two engineers on the train at the time of the derailment, and no one was injured.
In October, Greenfield received two grants — one for $250,000 and one for $125,000 — to help with repairs and improvements along the 29-mile rail line the village owns. As of October, the match money awarded totaled about $1.5 million, which meant the village could apply for a $3 million 50/50 Federal Rail Administration CRISI safety grant. However, since the point where the car derailed is located in Ross County, the money from the grant won’t go toward repairing that section of tracks.
But Wilkin said the incident highlights the importance of maintaining the line.
“The only injury is to the rail,” he added. “This is just an example of why we need help with our railroad, with a lot of these maintenance costs and this grant we went after. It looks like it was a gauging issue with the railroad ties. The one particular car that derailed was 140 tons, and it’s a lot of stress on the rails. The gauging was off a little bit, and a wheel popped off. They were able to get everything to stop within probably 100 feet of it derailing. There wasn’t a lot of damage.”
Wilkin said Thrifton Road was closed last night but has since been reopened and will remain open.
“It’s Ross County’s road. We put barriers up, and Ross County came in late yesterday afternoon and put up barriers,” Wilkin said. “I don’t believe Ross County engineers want to keep that road shut. There’s no reason for people to not go under the bridge. There was probably no reason for them to shut it last night. It was just a precautionary measure in case something strange would occur.”
Wilkin added that the derailment wasn’t caused by the structural integrity of the bridge itself.
”It was not the bridge that caused the derailment. The car jumped off the tracks probably 150 feet away from the bridge; that was just where they came to a stop,” Wilkin said. “The bridge has to pass inspections on a weekly basis. It does have some restrictions on it. They can only go a certain speed over that bridge. It’s not the bridge that caused the failure.”
According to the village’s post and subsequent comments from a village representative, trains can only travel between 5 and 7 mph in that area, and each week, every bridge, abutment, railroad tie, rail gauging, and other components of the railroad are inspected.
“The Federal Railroad Association has very specific criteria that must be adhered to or an ‘out of service’ order is issued,” the post read. “This bridge passes those inspections weekly. The train delivers materials to several local businesses that provide 1,800 jobs for our community and region.”
Wilkin said it’s important that the bridge stays open.
“That bridge has to stay open because Adient is on that line, and they have about 200 to 250 employees,” Wilkin said. “A lot of Greenfield residents work there; a lot of Ross County and Fayette County residents work there. It’s important for us to keep those jobs in our community.”
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.