Train derailment

A Norfolk Southern employee directs a crane into position to start placing the freight cars back onto the track near 15th street in Windber on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.

WINDBER – Moments after Windber Borough officials discussed repair plans for property damaged by a June 24 derailment behind their building, a freight train rumbled past.

Both appear to be signs the cleanup and repair project that’s been underway over the past few weeks is reaching its endpoint.

Borough Manager Jim Furmanchik said the borough has gotten approval from Rosebud Mining, the coal company that maintains the track, to begin taking steps to get the community building’s lot repaired, replace a damaged chain-link fence and address other issues behind the building in the coming weeks.

“We’ll be able to choose who we want to do the project ... and we’ve been assured the cost will be covered,” he said during Tuesday’s meeting.

Furmanchik estimated that it’ll cost $45,000 to put a new surface on the community building lot, which served as a staging area for industrial equipment and damaged rail cars in the days after the derailment.

Anson Bloom, the borough’s emergency management coordinator, said the damaged cars, several of which toppled during the accident, are expected to be hauled away over the next few days by rail.

Inspections on the line earlier this week and the sight of a loaded freight train passing by around 8 p.m. Tuesday served notice the track is back in use.

Efforts to reach Norfolk Southern for details on the crash investigation and rail line update were unsuccessful Wednesday and Thursday but Bloom said it’s likely the track will be shutdown sometime over the next few days to remove the derailed cars that remain.

Rosebud operates the line and has its coal hauled from its operations just outside of Windber. The company’s executive vice president, Jim Barker, also told The Tribune-Democrat in June that the company will ensure any damage caused by the derailment is fixed.

 The company has been operating along the line since 2008 through an agreement with the track’s owner, Norfolk Southern.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5053. Follow him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.

Recommended for you