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August 21, 2012

Maryland Train Derailment Kills Two, Temporarily Disables Verizon Facilities

By Jacqueline Lee, Contributing Writer

A CSX freight train carrying coal derailed and fell from a bridge in Ellicott City, MD at around midnight on August 20. The train killed two college students who were on the tracks and crushed multiple cars in an adjacent parking lot.

Twenty-one of the train’s 80 cars fell from the bridge. Cranes were brought in Tuesday morning to remove the cars so that the authorities could inspect the damage and search for any other potential victims.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, but they have not yet identified the cause.

Verizon (News - Alert) facilities at the site of derailment suffered extensive damage, according to company spokespersons. Customers of Verizon may not be able to complete long-distance calls, and data services for some businesses and government agencies in the area may be interrupted.

Verizon is reportedly waiting for local authorities to allow technicians to access the site. Some customers received restored service because Verizon was able to reroute network traffic to other facilities.

When technicians gain access to the site, Verizon has promised that they will work around the clock to restore network services as quickly as possible.

The CSX freight train was en route to Baltimore from its origin in Grafton, W.Va. The two victims were 19-year-old female college students. One attended James Madison University in Virginia while the other attended the University of Delaware.

Authorities are not sure why the two women were on the tracks, although the location is easily accessible from Ellicott City’s downtown shopping area.

“Many of those train cars fell onto automobiles – literally fell onto automobiles with the coal,” Howard County Executive Ken Ulman told the Associated Press (News - Alert). "So you have massive piles of coal and heavy train cars on top of automobiles.”

Verizon plans to release more information on Tuesday afternoon to update its customers on the state of its network.

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Edited by Braden Becker
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