Follow us on Twitter

BRANT, NY – The FBI has doubled its reward from $10,000 to $20,000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of an individual or individuals responsible for the attempted derailment of an Amtrak train on July 5, 2010 east of Alleghany Road in Brant, NY.

Special agent James H. Robertson of the FBI announces the doubling of the reward for information on the attempted derailment of an Amtrak passenger train.

Brant is in Chautauqua County in the western part of the state near the eastern shore of Lake Erie. Brant is about 28 miles southwest of Buffalo, about 97 miles southwest of Rochester, about 173 miles southwest of Syracuse, about 367 miles northwest of New York and about 5 miles northeast of Irving.

A barricade made from a pair of railroad ties was placed on the CSX tracks about 200 yards east of the Cattaraugus Creek Railroad Bridge. An Amtrak train carrying 354 people was travelling about 70 m.p.h. at the time. The train operator spotted the barricade and then slowed down before running into it.

Location of the attempted derailment of an Amtrak passenger train on July 5, 2010 about 200 yards east of the Cattaraugus Creek Railroad Bridge.

Although the Amtrak train sustained damage to the air brakes and undercarriage of the train in the incident, the train operator avoided what could have been a much more severe situation.

Fortunately, there were no injuries in the incident, either to railroad workers or to passengers. Authorities believe that the railroad ties were placed on the tracks between 4:00 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. July 5, 2010 because another train had passed on the same tracks at 4 a.m. without incident.

In the week after the July 5th incident, the FBI previously offered a reward of $10,000 for information on the individual or individuals involved, but in a more recent FBI news conference on July 22, 2010, special agent James H. Robertson, in charge of the Buffalo Division of the FBI, announced that the previous reward of $10,000 was being doubled to $20,000.


U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. pointed out that the penalty for attempting to derail the passenger train carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. If the derailment resulted in deaths, then the death penalty would apply upon conviction.

Special agent Robertson declined to provide specifics on the size of the barricade or a motive for the incident but he added that the attempt amounted to an act of terrorism.

The attempted derailment occurred on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation. In the last two weeks Robertson and State Police Major Christopher Cummings traveled to Seneca territory more than once to meet with Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder Sr. and the Tribal Council.

The FBI is confident that they have the full support of of the Seneca Nation in solving this crime.

Satellite view of the Cattaraugus Creek Railroad Bridge near the attempted derailment of an Amtrak passenger train on July 5, 2010.

There is some controversy because there is a new federal law banning the shipping of cigarettes through the U.S. Postal Service. There are Seneca merchants who sell cigarettes over the Internet and then ship them by mail. Although the recent legislation has angered the Seneca merchants, authorities said the only connection is that the attempted derailment occurred on Seneca land.

A sign that said “No Mail No Rail” was painted on a nearby railroad bridge, but the sign was removed after authorities asked that it be taken down. Major Cummings said he told Seneca officials that the sign generated some speculation about a possible motive for the attempted derailment.

A sign placed on a nearby bridge expressing anger over the recent law banning the shipment of cigarettes through the U.S. mail. The sign was removed soon after the incident.

In an article at the WIVB website President Barry E. Snyder, Sr., of the Seneca Nation of Indians expressed anger and disappointment over the attempted derailment and made the following statement:

While the Seneca Nation is at odds with the federal government over the PACT Act and the State of New York regarding planned collection of sales tax on cigarettes, we would never condone putting innocent railroad workers and passengers in danger as a result of those differences of opinion.

As for the recent federal law banning the shipment of cigarrettes through the mail, there is a temporary restraining order is allowing members of the Seneca Free Trade Association to continue using the mails until the end of the month. At that time, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara will decide on the constitutionality of the new law.

Anyone with information on the attempted derailment is asked to contact the FBI at 716-856-7800.

Published by FELA lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP

Comments are closed.

Search Blog
Social Portals
My Zimbio