ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WUSA) - An overnight train derailment in Ellicott City has taken the lives of two bystanders and has made a mess of the town's historic downtown area. The NTSB has officially taken over the investigation.
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman confirmed 23 of 80 cars of a CSX coal train derailed just before midnight. Ulman says several of the train cars fell off a bridge, approximately 17 to 20 feet, onto Main Street below.
According to Executive Ulman, at least two people are confirmed dead, who were likely walking along the Main Street/Frederick Road bridge which runs over the Patapsco River under the CSX tracks. The three CSX employees on the train were uninjured.
Heavy cranes are being brought in to remove rail cars off of automobiles parked in a lot next to the rail bridge.
The cleanup process doesn't stop with the metal wreckage or the train. The mess includes piles of coal that were scattered across the crash scene, Ulman said. The Department of the Environment is assessing the damage caused by the train's contents. Crews are working to shovel coal out of the street, in an effort to clear paths through the debris.
Main Street in Ellicott City is closed between the Howard County/Baltimore County line and Ellicott Mills as a result of the incident.
The Maryland State Highway Adminstration and Howard County Highways have placed multiple sign boards alerting motorists to use alternate routes such as Route 40.