NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - In this day and age of heightened border security, how could a railcar accidentally roll across the upper tracks of the Whirlpool Bridge without anyone seeing a thing?
News 4 has obtained video the runaway railcar moving from the U.S. side to the Canadian on August 12th. It went undetected at the international border crossing for several hours.
Brent Gallaugher of the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission said, "The thought of it happening never really crossed anybody's mind. It was way out of left field."
The video from the bridge commission shows the empty rail car crossing the bridge at around 1:30 in the morning.
"Once that mass gets moving, it moves. It doesn't have to move fast; it just moves," Gallaugher said.
A CSX spokesperson says the empty railcar broke loose from its yard in Niagara Falls, New York. It then traveled down the tracks, crossing the Whirlpool Bridge, and finally coming to a rest near a rail station on the Canadian side. That's a distance of nearly two miles.
Gallaugher said, "Well, the big concern is one, that it happened. That's a big concern. And now we're working with agencies and CSX to make sure that it doesn't happen again."
A CSX spokesperson says the incident is being treated as an act of vandalism and remains under investigation. According to the U.S. Border Patrol, an alarm went off around the time railcar passed over the bridge.
Lead Agent Michael Scioli noted, "Our agents responded to the bridge, and to look for anyone crossing into the U.S. They looked through the area. The surrounding area. They canvassed. Couldn't identify anybody coming across."
Scioli says agents were told by a CSX employee that it was a railcar that came from the Niagara Falls yard. By that time, the two-level vehicle carrier was already on the Canadian side.
"At that point it was CSX's investigation. So they were starting to notify everybody, at least from my understanding," Scioli said.
But as we now know, it would be several hours before Canadian authorities and the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission became aware of it.
Gallaugher said, "We learn. Not to diminish it, and quite frankly it wasn't seen as a huge threat, and now we're addressing it."
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