Vandals are being blamed for causing a runaway train car and derailment on Sunday evening, Jan. 24 in Seaman.
Sgt. Matt Windle of the Seaman Police Department said “local hoodlums” removed the pin that connected the rail car to a mile-long train on the west side of Seaman.
“Without the pin, the car began rolling east, it crossed Main Street and headed out of town,” Windle explained, “The rail car barely missed a vehicle during its mile long journey down the track.”
Authorities said the car was probably disconnected before the winter storm on Friday because the perpetrator’s tracks, though snow covered, were still visible.
The empty tanker car, which has a 37,000 gallon capacity, came to a stop a few hundred yards east of Silcott Road when its rear axle derailed.
The rail car is the property of the Cincinnati East Terminal Railway (CCET). According to Drew Wilson, representative for the CCET, there is a fail-safe in place on the east side of Seaman to stop loose cars.
“We lease the railroad track from a private owner, and we disconnect the tracks at the end of our short line as a fail-safe in case something like this happens, the car will be stopped.”
A locomotive was brought in on Monday to get the rail car back onto the tracks and reconnect it to the train.
“Even though we’ve complied with federal regulations, that doesn’t stop others from committing an act of vandalism,” Wilson said, “It is a violation of federal to tamper with railroad equipment, and we are working with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and local authorities investigating this incident.”
The case is still under investigation. Authorities say they have several leads that could eventually result in arrests.