American Railroads

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Location: Middleburg (Jacksonville), Florida, United States

Published in Trains magazine, Railfan & Railroad, Passenger Train Journal

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Barge crashes into bridge fenders

A runaway barge slammed into Amtrak’s railroad bridge connecting Old Lyme and Old Saybrook, shutting down rail service for two hours and stranding boat traffic.

The 310-foot barge Connecticut dislodged from a tug named Turecamo Girls and crashed into the drawbridge’s fenders on the Old Lyme end about at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Coast Guard Lt. Chris Tsairis said the double-hulled barge, designed to transport fuel, was empty at the time of the crash. The barge remained lodged in the fenders Saturday night as Amtrak officials waited for a favorable tide to hopefully free the vessel.

There were no reported injuries, the Coast Guard said.

Cliff Black, Amtrak’s media relations director, did not expect an overall damage assessment would be made Saturday night. He said the barge struck the bridge’s fender system, designed to absorb impacts from vessels. Black reported railroad traffic over the bridge was shut down from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

The bridge was reopened after an assessment by Amtrak Bridges and Buldings civil engineers and the Coast Guard deemed the span safe, he said.

During that time, five Amtrak trains were delayed from 32 minutes to 110 minutes, Black said.

“The bridge is safe for train operation,” Black said.

The incident remains under investigation, the Coast Guard said.

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