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Amtrak train derailed near Front Street in Slidell; seven injured

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An Amtrak train derailed after crashing into an 18-wheeler carrying the shell of an armored personnel carrier near the Textron plant on Front Street in Slidell Wednesday morning.


The truck driver was injured in the crash, along with four Amtrak crew members and a passenger, Slidell Police said.


The truck driver suffered moderate, but not life-threatening injuries in the crash. All the other injuries were minor and the passenger has already been released from the hospital, authorities said.


The collision occurred at 8:06 a.m. at the entrance to the Textron plant where Cleveland Street intersects with Front Street.


Five of the northbound train's 11 cars, including two engines, were derailed, Slidell Assistant Police Chief Kevin Foltz said.


Emergency crews are on the scene dealing with the crash itself as well as fuel spilled in the incident.


Authorities said the train, which was carrying about 2,000 gallons of diesel, was spilling fuel at a rate of about 45 gallons an hour just after the crash. The diesel sparked a small fire after the derailment, but that was soon put out and emergency crews sopped up the leak with sand and foam.


The train, Amtrak's Crescent, left New Orleans' Union Passenger Terminal shortly after 7 a.m. The daily route takes passengers to Atlanta, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and numerous other stops along the way.


The train, carrying 65 passengers and 13 crew members, was approaching Amtrak's Slidell depot, about two-thirds of a mile to the north, when the collision occurred.


"All indications are that our crew were doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing, when they were supposed to be doing it," Amtrack spokesman Marc Magliari said.


Police closed Front Street from Fremaux Avenue to Pontchartrain Drive until emergency crews can safely clear the area.


Amtrak has reported the derailment to Norfolk Southern, which owns the railroad tracks, and the Federal Railroad Administration, which has jurisdiction over the tracks, Magliari said.


It was not immediately known how long it will take to repair the tracks damaged in the incident and lift the derailed cars back onto the tracks.




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