Reporting Derek Valcourt
ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — One year later. Family and friends still are grieving the loss of two 19-year-olds killed when a train derailed in Ellicott City.
Derek Valcourt has more on the changes in place since the accident.
It’s been a year, but repairs are still underway. Federal investigators are still reviewing the case and the pain is still fresh.
In historic Ellicott City, CSX trains now routinely travel the same tracks that just one year ago became the site for the worst train incident in the long history of the town.
The derailment left a trail of wreckage and sent 21 cars off the tracks, toppling tons of coal into streets, sidewalks, the river, and onto two young college students who were hanging out near the tracks. Buried under the coal, they died.
“A week doesn’t go by that I don’t think about it,” said Sally Tennant, owner, Discoveries.
Sally Tennant is one of many locals who say memories of the train accident are still fresh in their minds.
“Really just the horror of what transpired. Because it could have been any of us,” said Tennant.
One of the major changes since that accident is fencing. CSX put up a lot of it as they try to keep people off the railroad tracks.
“You can’t probably and won’t ever probably totally prevent it. But if you can try to reduce the amount of access and therefore people being in harm’s way, that’s going to be very important,” said Steve Lafferty, Howard County business liaison.
For their part, CSX, who operates the rail lines, issued a statement, saying:
“The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the derailment and we are cooperating with them. In addition, over the past year we have worked closely with Howard County and businesses in Ellicott City to repair property damage from the derailment.”
WJZ saw some of that work still ongoing, with crews making repairs to the bridge, roads, and sidewalks.
The town’s physical scars are disappearing, but the emotional scars are still left behind.
“Feelings of real sadness. And it makes you appreciate the moments that you have with your children,” Tennant said.
To honor the victims, this weekend, there will be a two-mile memorial road race through Ellicott City in an effort to raise money for scholarship funds in the victims’ names.
The race starts Saturday at 8:30 a.m. and runs through historic downtown Ellicott City. For more information, click here.