NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - A runaway railcar was left sitting for almost half-a-day after crossing an international border without our northern neighbors being aware of it.
Now there are a new host of security concerns as an investigation looks into how the railcar went from the U.S. to Canada over the upper tracks of the Whirlpool Bridge without anyone on the Canadian side noticing it for over 11 hours. It has been nearly three weeks since it happened, but a lot of questions remain.
"We are confident that the railcar was empty and we are working with our partners to ensure that this does not occur," said Jean D'Amelio Swyer of Canada Border Services Agency.
On August 12th around 1:30 in the morning, an empty railcar used to carry finished vehicles broke loose in a CSX yard near Hyde Park Boulevard in Niagara Falls. The car traveled down the tracks, across the Whirlpool Bridge, and came to a rest near a rail station in Niagara Falls, Ontario - a distance of nearly two miles.
Lead Agent Michael Scioli of U.S. Border Patrol said, " I don't think it's a huge concern due to the fact that there were people that knew about it. The correct parties were informed knew about it. An alarm did trip. Our agents were there to respond."
What's troubling is the response time on the Canadian side.
"We became aware of this situation several hours after the railcar was on Canadian soil," Swyer acknowledged.
A CSX spokesperson says the incident is being treated as an act of vandalism and remains under investigation.
Scioli explained, "I guess it was the bleeding of a brake, then the pin got pulled, I guess, and dislodged and started slowly going down."
An alarm activated around 1:30 in the morning. Scioli says agents on the U.S. side were immediately sent to the bridge.
"Our agents were there on time. We looked. Nothing had crossed in the area. Communication level was had with CSX. So it seemed to work out pretty well on our end."
But what happened on the Canadian side? Why did it take several hours for a response?
Swyer said, "For operational reasons we will not discuss the specifics of this case. The matter is being reviewed."
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