The Mountain Times

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Train derailment investigated as a felony vandalism

BETHEL - On Aug. 17 at approx. 10:52 p.m. the Vermont State Police in Royalton responded to a reported train collision near the intersection of Route 12 and Route 107 in Bethel.  Responding troopers discovered that three grain cars on a side spur of the train tracks behind Green Mountain Feed had appeared to roll through the end of the spur and derailed. New England Central Railroad was contacted and a north bound freight train was stopped short of Bethel Village so the crew could assess the safety of the tracks prior to proceeding north to St. Albans.
Rail maintenance crews responded and determined that two loaded grain cars had been tampered with when the brake systems holding the cars in place had been disengaged. The two cars, with a combined weight of over 500,000 pounds, rolled from a position north of a third grain car and crashed into it. The force of the collision pushed the southernmost car through a stop and off the end of the rails. The grain cars stopped short of an embankment at the back of a residential property and could have had catastrophic consequences if the brakes on the third car were not engaged.
The car that was derailed was close to the main line of tracks and had to be evaluated for safety of regular rail traffic before trains could pass the location. This incident is being actively investigated as a felony vandalism case with initial estimates of the damage believed to be in excess of $30,000 to a local business.