CSX Freight Train Derailment Severs Iconic Appalachian Trail


(Bloomberg) -- The 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail has been severed for now following a CSX Transportation freight train derailment near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, authorities say.

The train derailed early Saturday, with two of its seven cars tumbling into the Potomac River. No one was hurt; the locomotive was towing empty grain cars.

The rail bridge was undamaged and reopened Sunday after the cars were recovered and put back on track. But part of the wooden pedestrian bridge attached to the CSX bridge was damaged, according to the National Park Service.

The bridge connects the Appalachian Trail at Harpers Ferry to Maryland Heights, Maryland. Hikers and others are being asked to arrange for shuttles to replace what’s usually a few minutes’ stroll.

“The Goodloe Byron Memorial Footbridge over the Potomac River is closed until further notice,” the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, a nonprofit group based in Harpers Ferry, said in a notice on its website.

The iconic trail runs from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine. It is popular with through-hikers, who attempt to walk the entire trail in one trip, and others who take on smaller portions of the route at a time.

Harpers Ferry, about 60 miles from Washington and at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, is considered the de facto midpoint of the Appalachian Trail, although the actual midpoint is further north, in Pennsylvania.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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