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Authorities investigate train incident inside Indian reservation

(The following appeared on the Post-Journal website on July 9, 2010.)

CATTARAUGUS TERRITORY — New York State Police and the FBI are investigating an incident Monday where an Amtrack passenger train ran into two railroad ties placed on the tracks inside the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation.

According to CSX Transportation Railroad Police, an Amtrak passenger train reported hitting some railroad ties that someone placed on the CSX tracks on the Cattaraugus Reservation around 8:45 a.m., Monday morning. During an investigation conducted Wednesday, police located the scene of the incident, which was approximately 200 yards east of the Cattaraugus Creek Railroad bridge on the Cattaraugus Reservation.

At the scene, there were two railroad ties that had been splintered by the train. Following the impact, Amtrak police reported that the train sustained damage to the air lines but there were no injuries to passengers or crew. The investigation and subsequent interviews revealed that the railroad ties had been placed across both rails.

State police said Thursday that currently, the motivation for the incident is unknown although in a news release, they did reference signs on the reservation, including on the Cattaraugus Creek Railroad Bridge, that say "No Mail-No Rail" in reference to the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act recently signed by President Obama.

The PACT Act basically limits the ability of Indian retailers to mail tobacco products through the U.S. Postal Service and it has been a recent point of contention between American Indians and the federal government.

The state police also said in a news release that at this time, "there is no evidence linking the PACT Act signs and the railroad accident," and that the state police aren't " linking the two incidents at this time".

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to call the New York State Police at the Collins barracks at 716-532-6820.

Monday, July 12, 2010

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