NY: Train Service Resumes After Burning Bulldozer Rides the Rails

Aug. 13--Amtrak service west and north of Rensselaer came to a halt Tuesday afternoon after a runaway bulldozer burst into flames and traveled along the single track connecting Albany and Schenectady.

The bulldozer traveled from Railroad Avenue to a spot next to the First Prize Center at Everett Road and Exchange Street, where it stopped.

Trains were held at the Rensselaer and Schenectady stations while Amtrak crews checked to make sure the track and signals weren't damaged.

"A contractor working on the Albany-Schenectady double track program was operating a bulldozer near the railroad when it caught fire," said Craig Schulz, a spokesman for Amtrak. "The operator jumped off to escape the fire but the bulldozer stayed in gear, traveling some distance before coming to a stop."

Crews completed their track inspection, and service resumed at 5:45 p.m., Schulz said.

The single track is used by trains traveling to and from Chicago, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Montreal and Rutland.

It long has been a bottleneck as trains must wait for oncoming trains to clear the track.

Passenger rail advocates have sought to have a second track installed for two decades. Work on the $83.2 million project got under way earlier this summer.

Copyright 2014 - Times Union, Albany, N.Y.

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