• Reward for information

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania

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  by roc
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From the Meadville Tribune (http://www.meadvilletribune.com/)
Reward offered in train-snowmobile incident
By Keith Gushard
A 115-car freight train was running through Warren County at about 40 mph late Tuesday night, and Richard W. Minnis was the engineer in charge.
As the westbound Norfolk Southern Railway train rounded a curve in the dark at 11 p.m., it slammed into an old, abandoned snowmobile — pushing it about a half-mile before it and the train came to a halt.
No one was injured in the incident, but it and a slew of other episodes of vandalism have railroad officials worried that it’s just a matter of time before their worst nightmares come true.
“I’m a little concerned,” said Minnis, a 57-year-old Conneaut Lake resident. “If it caught the right way, it could derail us.”
The train pushed the snowmobile until it struck a paved area between the tracks at a farm crossing. The impact caused the snowmobile to be thrown from the tracks, but also forced asphalt to land on the tracks, according to Pennsylvania State Police.
The locomotive became unstable, but halted before derailing, police said.
Warren County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Police say the snowmobile was placed on the tracks between 5 and 11 p.m. that day.
“It was an attempt to derail the train,” according to Stephen Timko, vice president and general manager of the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad. “It’s a safety concern.”
The incident caused about $2,000 worth of damage to the crossing, too, he said. It’s only part of ongoing vandalism that continues to plague the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad that runs from Meadville to Hornell, N.Y.
On Monday, a signal block used to control the movement of trains near Corry was found shot out of commission.
“The block was made inoperable,” Timko said. “It tells crews on the train whether they can approach.”
In October, the railroad took law enforcement and borough officials from communities along the route on a trip from Corry to Meadville to point out some of the trouble spots.
Vandalism has included all-terrain vehicle and snowmobile riders traveling next to or in between the rails; kids jumping from railroad bridges into French Creek; and people dumping items on the tracks.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pennsylvania State Police in Corry at (814) 663-2043 or Warren County Crime Stoppers at (800) 83-CRIME.