Amtrak Train Derails

An Amtrak passenger train headed from Chicago to New York collided with derailed Conrail cars in a busy railyard today, injuring 20 people, officials said.

Many said they had head, neck or back pain, while some people suffered cuts and bruises, said William Pasquale Jr., director of operations for Medic Rescue.

"I'm sure they're sore, but they're lucky. It could have been a lot worse," he said.

Twenty people were treated at the Medical Center of Beaver and released. The remaining Amtrak passengers were bused to Pittsburgh, where they were to resume travel on a later train, said Amtrak spokesman Clifford Black.

The collision occurred about 7:45 a.m. EDT in Conrail's Conway yard, a major shipping point about 20 miles west of Pittsburgh.

A Conrail locomotive was assembling a 113-car freight train when four cars derailed. Those cars were then struck by the Three Rivers, a 16-car Amtrak train with 111 passengers, that was passing on an adjacent rail, Conrail spokesman Robert Lipkind said.

Seven Amtrak cars then derailed, including a dining car, three coaches, two mail cars and a baggage car, Black said. All of those cars remained upright. The accident then caused three more Conrail cars to derail, Lipkind said.

Neither spokesman knew what caused the freight train to derail.

Two of the four Conrail cars were empty, and the other two contained steel plate. No one was injured on the Conrail train, which had only two or three crew members on board, officials said.

Lipkind said the derailment caused minor delays to freight service, particularly from western points.

The Conway railyard is one of Conrail's busiest, handling 30-50 freight trains and a few passenger trains daily.

It was the second time within a month that a Conrail freight train derailed in Beaver County.

On March 20, 21 cars carrying liquid propane derailed in Big Beaver, just west of Conway. No propane leaked, and the three people on the train were not hurt. About 400 feet of track was damaged and had to be replaced.

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