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Cleanup underway of freight train derailment in East Aurora

An investigation has begun into why a Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad freight train derailed Monday night in East Aurora.

The traveling from Salamanca to Buffalo derailed at 10:52 p.m. in the vicinity of Main and Elm streets in the village, police said Tuesday morning.

Fifteen of the train's 98 cars, including the engine, went off the rails.

Residents of about 40 homes in a roughly four-block area on both sides of the tracks were evacuated as a precautionary measure Monday night. Residents were being allowed to return home Tuesday morning, police said in a Facebook post at 6:15 a.m. By 10 a.m., a crowd of people had gathered on the corner of Main and Riley streets to watch crews begin working on the removal of one of the derailed cars.

The train was carrying what police described as mixed freight along with some petroleum products. The only material that was spilled was diesel from the engine, according to police.

No injuries were reported, and it appeared that no structures near the railroad tracks were damaged, according to police.

The cause of the derailment is under investigation, and it may take up to a couple days for the site to be cleaned up, police said. Road closures in the area should be expected, including Main Street (Route 20A) at Riley Street.

In response to the crash, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Rep. Brian Higgins demanded a federal probe.

“This isn’t the first time a terrifying train derailment has happened in New York, and we need a full-scale investigation ASAP to sort out what happened and what actions should be implemented to prevent it from happening again,” said Schumer, a New York Democrat.

Schumer wrote a letter asking Federal Railroad Administrator Ronald Batory to ask for an investigation, and so did Higgins.

“Residents who live in proximity to America’s freight railroads have the right to expect an appropriate level of federal oversight to ensure that the requisite capital investments are being made and that safety protocols are being observed," Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat, said in his letter. "Transparency here will be key, as residents have a right to know what went wrong -- why a neighborhood was forced to evacuate, and what corrective steps are being taken to prevent an occurrence like this from happening in the future.”

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