Train Derailment Closes Potomac Footbridge in Harpers Ferry

Date Published: Dec 21, 2019

A train derailed early Saturday morning in Harpers Ferry, severely damaging a section of the Goodloe Byron Memorial Footbridge over the Potomac River.
A train derailed early Saturday morning in Harpers Ferry, severely damaging a section of the Goodloe Byron Memorial Footbridge over the Potomac River. Image courtesy of Anthony Troxel

Just before 4 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2019, a CSX train derailed from the bridge crossing the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry. There were no injuries or hazardous materials involved in the derailment. CSX is fielding calls about this incident by phone at 1.800.232.0144.

The derailment affects access to parts of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Chesapeake & Ohio National Historical Park, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.). The following information details closures and impacts on visitor access.

  • The footbridge attached to the CSX bridge is indefinitely closed.
  • Park users will be unable to cross between Harpers Ferry and C&O Canal towpath.
  • Park users will be unable to cross from Harpers Ferry to the Maryland Heights trail.
  • A.T. hikers with immediate need for transport between Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and Weverton Road, Maryland should arrange for shuttles. Hikers are not advised to walk on Highway 340 to cross into Maryland, as this roadway has narrow shoulders and heavy traffic. Information about available transportation options can be found at appalachiantrail.org/transportation.

Other areas of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, such as The Point and John’s Brown Fort, are closed temporarily because of proximity to the derailment. These areas will reopen once cleanup and assessment are complete. 

We will update appalachiantrail.org/updates as more information becomes available.

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is 2,193 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, please visit www.appalachiantrail.org.

Media Contacts:
Jordan Bowman
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.885.0794
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ATHike
Web: www.appalachiantrail.org

Autumn Cook
Public Affairs Specialist (acting)
Region 1 - National Capital Area
National Park Service
Office: 202.619.7158
Cell: 304.702.5684

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