Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Rogue rail car rolls undetected across bridge from N.Y. to Niagara Falls, Ont. - across the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge -

Rogue rail car rolls undetected across bridge from N.Y. to Niagara Falls, Ont. - across the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge - 

No one noticed the rogue rail car cross the border from Niagara Falls, N.Y. to Niagara Falls, Ont., in the wee hours of Aug. 12.

Somehow, the rail car left the CSX rail yard on American soil and rolled across the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge before halting in the Niagara Via Rail station, which was closed for the night.

CSX didn’t notice. Neither the U.S. Customs and Border Protection nor the Canada Border Services Agency noticed. The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, owner of the bridge, didn’t notice.

In fact, the rail car went undetected until Via Rail employees reported the migrant boxcar to authorities when they arrived at work.

And though two weeks have passed, details remain scant as authorities investigate what happened.

“The incident . . . is being treated as an act of vandalism and remains under investigation,” CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan said. He would not elaborate further but said the rail car, which is used to carry finished vehicles, was empty when it rolled across the bridge.

It likely crossed between 1 or 2 a.m., said Brent Gallaugher, the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission’s manager of agency relations and security.

The CBSA refused to say what time it was alerted to the rail car’s appearance because the matter is “under review,” but the Niagara Regional Police Service was called at 12:47 p.m., according to spokesman Const. Derek Watson.

When the CBSA and the police searched the rail car — perhaps as long as 12 hours after it arrived — it was empty.

“The report came in initially as a suspicious runaway box car, but was quickly deemed not suspicious. The box car was empty, and could be described as an open car carrier railway box car,” Watson said in an email.

“We are confident it just got dislodged as cars were being moved into place on the U.S. side,” CBSA spokeswoman Jean D’Amelio Swyer said in an email.

CN Police are also involved in the investigation as CN owns the property where the rail car landed.


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