ROXBURY, NJ – Railroad tanker cars filled with liquified butane and propane will not be rolling through Roxbury during the next week, thanks to an order by a judge who will revisit the matter on June 20.
State Superior Court Judge Stephan Hansbury, pressed by Morris County to stop the Morristown & Erie Railway from using its tracks to transport the tankers, and store them in Mount Olive, issued on Friday a temporary restraining order.
The judge directed the Morristown & Erie (M&E) to work with concerned county and local officials and devise a safety plan, said the county in a statement. However, Hansbury did not immediately rule on the county’s allegation that the M&E needed, but failed to request, county approval to store the rail cars.
Under a deal it struck with a customer, the M&E this month began transporting the black tanker cars over its High Bridge Line en route to the line’s terminus near Bartley-Chester Road. The tracks run through Roxbury and Roxbury officials recently voiced opposition to the tanker transport.
There are 18 of the tankers parked on the tracks. The M&E wants to store about 100 there, according to documents.
“Attorneys and officials from the county and M&E Railway met for several hours … in private to discuss possible safety measures that should be put in place in connection with the parked rail cars,” said the county on Friday. “Following those discussions, Judge Hansbury directed the two sides to continue that dialogue and urged them to come back in 10 days with a safety plan.”
The tracks are owned by the county and the M&E operates the freight trains over them. The county asserts the railroad, while allowed under the deal to use the tracks for freight transport, needed county approval for the tanker storage.
The railroad disagrees, saying it was within its rights.