Train derailment expected to impact commuting for days

Posted: Updated:
A freight train derailed in Union Township. A freight train derailed in Union Township.

A freight train derailment in Union County is expected to impact traveling around New Jersey by rail for days.

About 20 of the Conrail freight train’s 141 cars derailed Friday afternoon near the Elizabeth Train Station in Union Township.

Officials with the Union County Office of Emergency Management say that the crash left the train tracks along New Jersey Transit’s Raritan Valley line “mangled.”

"The rails look like spaghetti. It's all like twisted and turned, so it's going to have to be replaced. A long line of it because it goes from here, the train station, all the way into Roselle Park,” says Union Township Police Director Dan Zieser.

Service along the line was suspended in both directions between Newark Penn Station and Cranford and also between Raritan and High Bridge. NJ Transit put cross-honoring in effect.

The service disruption is expected to last for several days.

The shutdown meant longer evening commutes for some New Jersey workers. Commuter Ernie Alvero tells News 12 New Jersey that his commute home Friday evening took about 90 minutes longer than usual.

Views from Chopper 12 showed that many of the rail cars were on their sides and spilled their contents all over the surrounding area.

Authorities say that several tanker cars that overturned were empty and now hazardous materials were leaked. But homes and businesses were evacuated for a time as a precaution.

No injuries were reported as a result of the crash.

It was not immediately known what caused the derailment to happen.

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