Freight train derails, leaks acid in Hudson Valley

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A CSX freight train carrying hazardous materials has derailed in Newburgh, N.Y. (Courtesy of Joni Dunning Armstrong)

NEWBURGH, N.Y. (AP) -- A CSX freight train carrying hazardous materials slammed into a vehicle that was being driven across the tracks on Tuesday and derailed, spilling sulfuric acid.

The lead locomotive of the 77-car train ended up straddling both lanes of a two-lane road in Newburgh, in the Hudson Valley about 60 miles north of New York City.

State police said that the train derailed after striking an equipment loader and that two crew members suffered minor injuries.

CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle said the train, traveling from Selkirk to Waycross, Georgia, was carrying sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide, cardboard, corn oil and glass products.

An employee of Steelways Inc. told the Times-Herald Record that one of his co-workers was driving a forklift across the tracks when he heard the train's whistle and saw the crossing gates come down "really fast," trapping the vehicle on the tracks.

"I screamed for him to get out of the basket," employee Kevin Way said. "There was no way he was going to get off (the tracks) at that point."

Way said the co-worker escaped to safety just before the train struck the forklift.

Firefighters and hazardous-materials teams responded to a minor leak of sulfuric acid from one of the cars. A locomotive leaked diesel fuel.

Photos from the scene showed multiple tanker cars involved, power poles uprooted and a heavy police response.