Trains delayed due to truck on tracks in New London

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New London — A Honda Ridgeline truck ended up situated across two railroad tracks about 6 p.m. Wednesday night, delaying several trains.

The driver of the Honda, who declined to give his name, apparently was trying to turn onto Ferry Road from the Water Street/Governor Winthrop Boulevard intersection, but he took the right too early, and ended up on the tracks instead, according to Anthony Barboza, a Cross Sound Ferry employee who witnessed the boondoggle.

"I was sitting here, and I saw him go onto the tracks, he looked like he wasn't paying attention," Barboza said. "Once he was on the tracks, he was trying to get off and he just worked himself further and further down until he was stuck."

When the driver had given up, his vehicle was about 50 feet from the road and stretching across two of the three tracks.

Amtrak Police, New London Police, Amtrak employees, a private tow truck and ferry employees were on scene.

At first, the tow truck made an effort to get onto the tracks and remove the Honda, but it didn't get far. Cross Sound Ferry Security Officer Chris Anglin had to step in with a forklift to tow the tow truck because the dropoff from the road to the tracks was too great.

That's when authorities decided to send Anglin and the forklift onto the tracks to retrieve the truck.

Anglin carried the Honda off the tracks, a delicate, dramatic 5-minute process. The Honda wavered on the forklift a couple times, but eventually was lowered onto Ferry Street without so much as a scratch on the body. The Honda then was towed, with the only damage being a flat tire incurred before its saving by forklift.

"This was not an operation we've done before but it went pretty smoothly," Anglin said. "We had the right piece of equipment to do it."

Three tweets from Amtrak Northeast's Twitter account posted after 7:45 p.m. mentioned delays because of a "vehicle on the tracks" in the region. 

With the tracks free of obstacles, a train took off from Union Station about 7:35, just minutes after the Honda was loaded onto the tow truck.

s.spinella@theday.com

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