Train collision shuts down Rte. 52 for hours

Staff photo by Wm. Shawn Weigel: Chief AJ McCarthy of Longwood Fire Co., and Kennett Township chief of police Albert McCarthy confer on the site of a collision between a train and a dump truck early Wednesday morning along Route 52. The dump truck, seen in the background, remained on the tracks for several hours as crews cleaned up after it spilled its contents.

KENNETT TOWNSHIP-It was a case of train versus dump truck, and the train won by a landslide.

'The train always has the right of way,' said Kennett Township chief of police Albert McCarthy as he inspected the site of the collision along Route 52 this morning. 'It has to – the train can't stop.'

Preliminary reports state that the dump truck, which was headed northbound on 52 carrying a load of dirt, appeared to be unable to stop as it approached the railroad tracks that cross the road just south of the Mendenhall Inn.

McCarthy said that a driver behind the dump truck seemed to sense the danger and narrowly skirted around the truck, avoiding a collision with the approaching train.

The truck, however, was not so lucky.

The eastbound train struck the vehicle and sent it siding roughly 20 feet down the tracks, where it landed on its side and spilled its contents.

Route 52 remained closed for most of the morning as crews from Blittersdorf Towing removed the dirt and prepared to remove the truck from the tracks.

McCarthy said that the owner of the truck, who was not yet identified, would ultimately be responsible for the cleanup and removal.

Chief AJ McCarthy of Longwood Fire Co. said that while the load was just dirt from a construction site, fuel from the 55-gallon capacity fuel tanks spilled out when the truck tipped over.

'The transmission was also cracked, so there's also that hydraulic fluid to deal with as well,' he said.

Albert McCarthy said that Cpl. Richard Bell of Kennett Borough Police assisted on site in his capacity as an investigating agent for the Department of Transportation.

Bell is expected to file a complete report by Monday, McCarthy said.

No injuries were reported. The train, which consisted of an engine and a single car, sat idling on the track while waiting for the truck to be removed.

Longwood Fire Co., Kennett Township Police, Blittersdorf Towing, and members of the Kennett Township public works dept. assisted on site.

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