AYER, MASS. (WHDH) - Cleanup efforts continued Friday after several train cars derailed in Ayer the day before, leaving multiple large containers on their side.
Only one of the containers that fell from the freight cars carrying them Thursday remained after crews spent the day working in the area.
A SKY7 camera previously spotted at least five cargo cars that had gone off the rails yesterday, with some of the large, blue containers they were carrying landing close to a nearby road.
According to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, no hazardous materials were involved in the incident.
MEMA noted on social media that the containers were “reportedly carrying trash/recycling” at the time.
In a statement, a CSX spokesperson told 7NEWS the incident happened just before 12 p.m. involving a freight train operated by Springfield Terminals on a line jointly owned with Norfolk Southern.
The spokesperson said five rail cars carrying ten containers derailed, adding that there were “no reported injuries to the crew, no hazardous materials involved, no leaks or spills of any freight and no impacts to the environment.”
CSX said it is “working closely with local first responders to assess the situation and develop a recovery plan.”
Ayer Fire Chief Tim Johnston said the train was standing still when the cars tipped over.
Though a small creek passes under the tracks in the area of this incident, Johnston said he does not know if the creek played a role in Thursday’s incident.
Ayer resident John Ford said tracks in the area have looked bad to him for years.
“I’m not surprised it happened,” Ford said.
Ford added that he wonders if track conditions played a part in Thursday’s derailment, describing conditions that he said are especially visible at points during the summer.
“I don’t know if it’s because of the heat, but the actual rail sections themselves kind of have this bowing going on,” Ford said.
Ford detailed his initial reaction to the derailment, saying he wondered if the region was experiencing “an earthquake or something.”
Ford said he walked out of his house to see the bottoms of the derailed cars facing him across the street.
“I came and I saw and I’m like ‘That doesn’t look right,’” he said.
The Ayer Fire Department said on social media Thursday that containment booms were deployed across the creek close to the derailment site as a precaution.
Speaking on Thursday afternoon, neighbors who initially worried the train cars might have spilled something to worry about said they were quickly relieved by the news that the sealed train cars were only carrying trash and recycling.
“It’s pretty scary to be honest,” one neighbor said. “It’s scary.”
“Luckily, they made it known that there was no hazmat situations or anything like, so, that works out,” another area resident, Andrew Griffin, said.
Officials say Thursday’s crash happened on a side track separate from the main track in the area. As a result, other cargo and Commuter Rail trains were initially able to continue operating in the area.
The MBTA announced later Thursday afternoon that shuttle busses would replace service for Fitchburg Line Train 430 between Wachusett and Littleton/Route 495 to allow crews to re-rail train cars that derailed.
The T then announced a series of Commuter Rail delays impacting other trains into the evening.
On Friday morning, the T announced that Fitchburg Line Train 404 was operating 5 to 15 minutes behind schedule between Shirley and North Station due to a signal issue near Leominster and work to re-rail the freight train.
The cause of the derailment remains under investigation.
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