PAR: Third Bow-Bound Train Delivers Coal, Lesson

“Merrimack Express” Coal Train #3 Makes No Stops as Worcester-Area Protesters Run Off Tracks.

16 December, West Boylston MA — The third unit train delivering coal to Merrimack Station in Bow NH passed through Worcester to its destination without stopping, despite an on-track protest staged north of Barbers Station.

Up to a dozen climate activists were on the tracks when the train approached, expecting it to stop. It didn’t, and they were forced to flee to safety as the train rolled through at approximately 21:50. The train arrived at Merrimack Station the next morning, after tying down peacefully on the route.

Hooksett NH

PAR 5974-CSX 7797-CSX 7875 pull the third train of 80 Pennsylvania coal loads past Robie’s store, on the way to Merrimack Station. This was near where the previous train was stopped for the third time in a day on 08.December, by climate activists. Protests will likely greet each of the ~10 remaining trains scheduled to replenish the power plant. {Wayne Johnson}.

Eleven days earlier, during the daylight hours of 08.December, activists trespassed in front of Coal Train #2, and succeeded in delaying the train. Once law enforcement officers cleared the scene, the train continued, only to be stopped again in Ayer MA and then Hookset NH, before finally making its destination.

At 21:35 on 16.December, someone called PAR’s emergency dispatch officer and stated: “This is an emergency. There are protesters on the track of the Worcester Main line Near milepost seven. I repeat you need to stop the train on the Worcester main line there are protesters on the track at milepost seven.” A half-mile up-line, activist flaggers attempted to alert the train crew to slow down, but the train continued apace at approximately 10 mph.

Shortly before 21:50, the train, traveling at its prior speed, approached the dozen-or-so activists collected on the track itself. With the train only about fifty feet away, the activists fled from the track, and the train continued through, taking about seven minutes to pass. The trespassers may not have been visible beneath the waning gibbous moon.

“If we [had been] locked to the tracks, they wouldn’t have had time to slow down by the time they saw us,” said an indignant protester. “They went through two sets of flaggers.” It is unclear whether the flaggers were qualified on the line. {Miriam Wasser, WBUR-FM 17.Dec.2019}.