South Side Train Derailment Cleanup A 'Slow, Methodical Operation'

'We dodged a bullet. It could have been a catastrophe'

Joe DeStio
August 06, 2018 - 4:42 pm

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – “We are blessed,” according to Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. 'We dodged a bullet. It could have been a catastrophe'

The mayor visited the cleanup in wake of the seven freight car derailment on the South Side Sunday. The first of the double stacked container boxes was removed from the hillside just before Noon Monday. Crews used a giant construction crane to hoist it into the air and lay is softly on the sidewalk along East Carson Street.

“It took about six and a half to seven hours to move that container,” according to Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich. “So it’s going to be a slow, methodical operation to make sure there’s less risk of anyone getting injured.” 

Hissrich says there is still risk. “You have people up there being hoisted on a crane in a basket for one. And number two, you’re always afraid that the load may shift one way or another.”

The cause of the derailment is still a mystery. Also, the amount of damage to Norfolk and Southern track and the Port Authority’s LRT system. Rail cars on the Allentown spur resumed operation Monday afternoon.

There was one close call Monday morning according to Hissrich when a front end loader being used in the cleanup made contact with a line powering the LRT.

There was an explosion and blast as the line short circuited. No one was hurt. It was termed a miscommunication. Clean up officials thought the line had been de-energized. It was not.

To help with traffic issues, the Port Authority is shuttling riders from the Monongahela Incline to the Duquesne incline and Lyft is offering 50 percent off all rides between 5 and 10 tomorrow morning with the code 412COMMUTE. 

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