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(CSX workers assess the damage following a derailment Wednesday in Downtown McKeesport. Almanac photo.)
The Federal Railway Administration has joined CSX Railroad in trying to determine the cause of a coal train derailment Wednesday afternoon in Downtown McKeesport.
Warren Flatau, a public affairs officer with the FRA in Washington, D.C., said investigators from the agency's Region 2 are looking into the accident, which derailed more than two dozen loaded coal cars, including three that flipped over on the ground behind the McKeesport public safety building.
It may be some time before the final cause of the wreck is determined, Flatau said, but a preliminary report based on the railroad's findings will likely be available for the public in about two months.
Train service was restored Wednesday night on one track through the derailment site, with the first train passing through at approximately 11 p.m., said Rob Doolittle, a CSX spokesman.
Trains will continue to operate while the recovery effort is underway, he said.
There were no injuries and no environmental impacts have been reported, Doolittle said.
Besides CSX freight trains, the line also serves Amtrak's Capitol Limited passenger train, which travels once daily each way between Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Crews from the railroad have determined that 25 cars derailed in the incident, he said. Of those, 14 cars stayed upright and in-line with the tracks.
The train, consisting of two locomotives and 126 cars, was traveling from Grafton, W.V., to Monaca, Beaver County, and had just passed through lower 10th Ward and was crossing the Youghiogheny River when the derailment occurred.
At least three of the cars spilled their coal loads at the entrance to Dura-Bond Industries' electric-resistance weld mill on Fourth Avenue. Doolittle said crews will remove the coal that was spilled during the incident as they continue to work to re-rail or remove the damaged cars, and to repair the damaged tracks.
Originally published September 28, 2017.