Firefighters prepare for train emergencies

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 August 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Genesee Valley Transportation parked a train on the tracks in Holley next to the Holley Cold Storage this evening as part of a training with about 50 firefighters, mostly from the eastern end of the county – the departments in Clarendon, Holley, Fancher-Hulberton-Murray and Kendall.

Firefighters and GVT partnered in the training after a May 19 accident in Hulberton when a pickup truck pulled in front of a train despite the flashing lights going off at the crossing.

Firefighters toured the train engine and its cars – a covered hopper, an open hopper, a tank car and a refrigerated box cars.

GVT operates the Falls Road Railroad, which runs 42 miles from Lockport to Brockport. The company typically runs trains on Tuesdays and Fridays. The only hazardous material it currently carries is ammonia nitrate for a fertilizer company in Middleport.

GVT shared phone numbers for company employees and detailed how the company keeps records for labels, positions of cars and other facts about the cargo.

Pete Hendrickson, the Holley fire chief, said incidents with trains are rare, but he pushed for firefighters to increase their understanding of the trains and improve their preparedness in case of an emergency.