ROCKVILLE –A freight train caught fire on June 11 in Rockville, causing delays to commuters. According to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue (MCFRS) officials, a CSX freight train caught fire on the MARC Train – Brunswick Line around 6:50 a.m. Tuesday near the Rockville Metro Station, at 300 S. Stone Street. No injuries have been reported.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue officials responded to the fire around 7 a.m. and were able to successfully extinguish it quickly.
Given that the private freight train shares a track with the commuter rail MARC train, MARC services on the Brunswick-Washington Line were suspended for almost 90 minutes, disrupting the morning commute for some travelers.
According to Montgomery County fire officials, one of the shipping containers on the train, which was carrying cocoa powder, caught fire due to friction created by rubbing up against wheels on the train. However, a spokesperson for CSX said the fire is still under investigation and they have not determined a cause.
“One of the containers, a shipping container, was smoking. It appears as so (if) the container itself shifted and caused some friction, rubbing against some of the train wheels — which of course overheated some of the contents,” said Pete Piringer, a spokesperson for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.
While MARC train commuters were delayed, the fire did not affect Metro trains, which run next to the freight rail lines that MARC and CSX train-use. MCFRS personnel waited for CSX train officials to arrive in Rockville to separate the damaged car from the freight train in so services could continue on the track.
“At approximately 6:50 a.m. this morning a CSX intermodal container carrying cocoa powder was reported to be on fire near South Stone Street in Rockville, MD,” said Sheree S. Bowman, a spokesperson for CSX. “There were no injuries, and no hazardous materials were involved. We appreciate the swift response of the Montgomery County fire department. At CSX, safety is our top priority, and we worked in close coordination with the first responders to allow for a safe response. We appreciate the community’s patience and apologize for any impacts this may have caused the motoring public through Rockville.”
After CSX officials arrived, the train was disconnected. The damaged cars were removed at the Montgomery County transfer station, and normal service for MARC trains was able to resume.
The Brunswick line connects Martinsburg, West Virginia to Washington, D.C. with multiple stops in Montgomery County, including at the Rockville Metro Station. While the MARC trains operate on the line, the railroad is owned by CSX.