Railfans document near-miss in Fostoria on Sunday

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The two trains remained by the diamond after the incident during the investigation. This view looks east from the Fostoria Railpark.
FOSTORIA, Ohio – Railfans watching trains at the popular Fostoria Railpark believe they nearly witnessed a collision between two trains Sunday at the famous diamond crossing between CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern in northwest Ohio.

Sources close to the railroads identify the trains involved as NS 66N, a loaded eastbound ethanol train with Union Pacific power, and CSX Q355, a mixed manifest operating between Willard and Walbridge.

Fans watching tell Trains News Wire that Q355 was operating westbound and took a connecting track by F Tower to turn north to Walbridge. At the same time, 66N was operating eastbound on the NS main. Westbound NS train 412 just cleared the diamond before the near miss incident.

An eyewitness, a former railroad employee who asked not to be named, says both trains made an emergency brake application and were able to avert a collision. After seeing the CSX train approaching the diamond, “the NS train hit the air right about Poplar Street,” the next grade crossing to the west, he said. “CSX landed about 50 feet from NS.”

Norfolk Southern spokesman David Pidgeon confirms the witness accounts. "An eastbound NS train approached the diamond at Fostoria with a clear signal, and when the crew spotted a northbound CSX train approaching the diamond, the NS crew put their train into an emergency brake (application)," he tells Trains News Wire.

According to the witness, both NS trains were lined through town. He then heard a horn “on the B&O side,” referencing CSX’s former Baltimore & Ohio main line through the city, and walked to the south side of the park to get a better look. But he was surprised to see the CSX train “take the transfer (track) to Wally World,” local nickname for the CSX yard in Walbridge, near Toledo. It was then he realized there might be trouble brewing.

The witness said he was surprised at how quickly both trains were able to stop. His first thought was to flee, knowing a derailment could block the only vehicle access from the park.

Accounts from the scene indicate that it took about an hour for officials from both railroads to arrive.

CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle says the company is investigating the incident.

Other trains in the area were delayed while the crews inspected their trains and waited for company officials to arrive. Those trains seeing delays included T700, Q015, K635, Q151, E843, Q148, K148, L090, Q090, and Q136 on CSX.

In March, CSX closed F Tower, which had controlled trackage around the city since it opened in 1950. The IP dispatcher in Indianapolis now controls train movements through the city. For more on F Tower, see the August 2015 issue of Trains Magazine.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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