Residents In Small Town Of Pritchett Have Had Enough

Residents in the small town of Pritchett say they have had enough after a third train derailment in just as many months took place yesterday. Seventeen Union Pacific cars derailed about 6:00 a.m. near Highway 155. Its just about a mile down the track from where two other derailments took place in May. Residents say they want something to be done and they want it to be done now.

"There are people who unlike me live right here next to the tracks," said Pritchett resident Mike Files. "The derailment this time happened in someone's backyard. There are kids out there playing around in this wreckage."

Residents say they are not surprised a third derailment occurred because of the tracks' condition.

"This stuff you know, it's old, it's worn out," said Files. Residents say it's just a matter of time before another derailment occurs.

"I want to see this fixed and I want to see it fixed right," said Files. "Not just patched here where it's easily visible."

Upshur County Judge Dean Fowler says he's frustrated because he is not getting any answers as to why these derailments have been happening.

"I want to see the people with jurisdiction, which is basically the federal government, get involved and see to it the track is safe out there in the Pritchett area," said Fowler.

Fowler met with Union Pacific representatives this afternoon. They told Fowler they will replace 50,000 ties between Pittsburg and Big Sandy starting in January. They also told Fowler they will immediately reduce the speed limit between Big Sandy and Gilmer from 40 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour. Trains are going through this area, but can only go 10 miles per hour where the derailment occurred.

Fowler says he's not sure how affective the new ties will be, but right now is just happy nothing worse has happened.

"It is a blessing that none of these three wrecks have been catastrophic wrecks," said Fowler.

Molly Reuter, reporting.