Fire Shuts Down Track On Metro-North Railroad At Valhalla

VALHALLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A fire shut down a track on the Metro-North Railroad in Valhalla Wednesday afternoon.

As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, delays of 30 minutes were reported on the railroad as a result of the fire.

A driver apparently hit the accelerator instead of the brake in the parking lot late in the afternoon, and knocked a fence onto the Metro-North tracks, Young reported. The driver regained control of the car, but a train hit the fence, and smoke and fire erupted along the strong electric lines.

“The vehicle moved before a northbound train came in, so no one was injured, but there was damage to the tracks,” said Mount Pleasant police Chief Paul Oliva.

As to the driver, Oliva said, “The operator was by himself in the vehicle; was aware and awake.”

One track had to be shut down because the railroad had to shut power, Metro-North said. There are three tracks at the location.

Late Wednesday afternoon, trains were running past the site using diesel-powered locomotives, since power was out.

CHECK: Metro-North Updates

Video taken aboard a train by Twitter user Brendan Walsh showed the fire on the tracks.

All passengers were removed from the train that hit the fence.

Metro-North hopes to have all problems related to the accident and fire fixed by Thursday morning.

On May 19, 2014, a car erupted into flames on the Metro-North tracks near the same station, Young reported. In that incident, a 63-year-old driver from Armonk was a commuter getting into in his modified handicap car – which was parked at the Valhalla Metro-North station, officials said.

The driver hit the accelerator instead of the brake, and launched himself through a fence and onto the electrified tracks, officials said.

After the 2014 accident, the Toyota was rocked on and off the third rail as the driver tried to pull himself out of the precarious and very dangerous situation. The car caught fire and was left burned in several places from the electrical contact, officials said.

The heat from the fire damaged one of the rails, which forced officials to close it. Witnesses and first responders were amazed to find the man alive and standing next to the burning car in the 2014 incident.

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