Route 5 reopens after wreck

FONDA – Route 5 was reopened west of the village Tuesday after two months of closure due to the train derailment in late June, an accident the railroad company blames on human error, according to a new report.

Authorities closed a 12-mile stretch of Route 5 from Mohawk to Palatine after the June 27 derailment of two CSX freight trains.

The state Department of Transportation said Route 5 was opened Tuesday after CSX contractors made temporary road repairs. While it was closed, motorists going from Fonda to Palatine were detoured via Route 5S from Fultonville to Canajoharie.

The two CSX freight trains sideswiped each other just west of Fonda around 8 a.m. An engineer and a conductor on one of the trains suffered minor injuries, authorities said.

In June, CSX spokesman Robert Sullivan said one of the trains was traveling from Avon, Ind., to Selkirk with four locomotives and 126 freight cars. The other train was going from Selkirk to New Castle, Pa., with two locomotives and 83 freight cars.

Operator error was the cause of the derailment, CSX says in a report from its internal investigation submitted recently to the Federal Railroad Administration. The company’s report says the accident was caused when the eastbound train went through a trackside red light as a westbound train was crossing from one track to another.

The trains struck one another, sending dozens of cars into a ditch along Route 5 just east of Fonda. Some of the derailed cars landed on the road, causing extensive damage.

The repairs made to Route 5 are temporary, according to DOT spokesman Jim Piccola, but they are sufficient to allow traffic to resume.

CSX will have its contractors begin making permanent repairs to the road, which are expected to be completed before winter, he said.

“It may be sooner; it depends [on] how quickly the contractor gets it done,” Piccola said Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.