Posts Tagged ‘CSX crude oil trains’

Refinery Closing to Cut CSX Crude Oil Traffic

June 28, 2019

CSX is expected to seen a drop in crude oil traffic following the closure of refinery near Philadelphia that sustained a massive fire last week.

The Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery along the Schuykill River will be shut down by its owner. It is the largest refinery on the East Coast.

Some of the crude oil processed at the refinery originated in the Bakken oil field region of North Dakota on BNSF and was interchanged to CSX in Chicago.

The refinery was built in the 19th century and had a capacity of two 120-car unit trains per day, which would represent 40 percent of the refinery’s capacity of 335,000 barrels per day.

The rail unloading facility at the refinery was rebuilt in 2013 with financial help from the state.

In a statement, Philadelphia Energy Solutions said the damage caused by the fire “has made it impossible for us to continue operations.”

Trains magazine reported that some energy analysts said the refinery had slim slim profit margins and its closing is not surprising.

More Conneaut Doings

December 12, 2017

NS eastbound manifest freight 316 has a pair of Union Pacific locomotives in charge as it crosses Conneaut Creek in a view made from the U.S. 20 bridge.

In a recent post I described a recent Sunday afternoon catching a Canadian National train in Conneaut on the former Bessemer & Lake Erie. CN wasn’t the only operations that I observed and photographed.

Traffic on Norfolk Southern was slow for most of the morning with nothing running. Things began picking up before noon when the 22K showed up followed by the 206, the 098 and the 316.

I never saw or heard of a westbound on NS during my time in Conneaut.

I spent most of the morning on CSX where traffic was heavy after I arrived with four trains coming through in the first hour that I was there.

I was surprised that none of the CSX trains I saw were intermodals. Once NS got into action, I moved away from the CSX tracks.

After the CN train showed up around 1 p.m., the likelihood of my going back trackside along the CSX Erie West Subdivision became minimal.

Here are some highlights of what I saw on NS and CSX on this day.

It’s the eastbound stack train 22K.

NS train 206 has one of the DC to AC conversion units on the point today.

Can you guess which way the 098 is going? It is headed for work in Pennsylvania.

A two-image sequence of a westbound CSX crude oil train.

A westbound CSX manifest freight passes the former New York Central freight house, which is now owned by the Conneaut Historical Society.

CSX eastbound auto rack train Q254 passes the Conneaut water tank.

My First Railfan Outing of 2017

January 17, 2017
My first train of 2017 had a few things in common with my first train of 2016.

My first train of 2017 had a few things in common with my first train of 2016.

It had been more than a month since I had been trackside. Holiday activities, bad weather and other factors had kept me at home.

The stars finally lined up on Sunday, Jan. 15. I drove to Painesville to meet with Ed Ribinskas to take care of business related to the transfer of the Akron Railroad Club’s treasurer duties.

It was a sunny day and we moseyed over to Perry where the Erie West Subdivision of CSX and the Great Lakes District of Norfolk Southern run a block apart.

Let the record show that the first train of 2017 that I photographed had a few things in common with the first train that I photographed in 2016.

Both were short, headed eastbound, captured in January and there was no snow on the ground.

But the first train of 2017 was a CSX intermodal whereas the first train of 2016 had been an NS local.

Does this mean anything? Not really, but it is of passing interest.

We arrived in Perry around 11:30 a.m. and by the time we left at 4:30 p.m. we had logged 12 trains.

Three of them were on NS, all eastbounds. Interestingly, the NS traffic came within a 45-minute window.

Otherwise, NS was quiet the rest of the day and there was not so much as a peep of a westbound.

CSX offered some moderate variation. Six of its nine trains were intermodals with a seventh being the Canadian Pacific run-through train that is mostly stacked containers with some manifest freight tacked on.

The CP train had CP motive power and an eastbound crude oil train had a pair of BNSF pumpkins. NS train 206 had a Union Pacific unit trailing. That was the day’s foreign power.

CSX also ran a westbound auto rack train, but we never saw one of those 500 plus axles of a monster manifest freight that CSX has become known for within the past year. In fact, we never saw a manifest freight of any length on CSX.

We also seldom heard the dispatcher of either railroad on the radio. Most dispatcher transmissions had to do with speaking to maintenance of way personnel. Only once did the dispatcher give operating information to a train.

As the afternoon wore on the clouds began thickening although it never reached overcast conditions. The sun continued to pop through even if it was filtered light.

All in all it was a nice way to kick off the 2017 railfanning season.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Eastbound NS 22K was the first NS train that I photographed in 2017. The leader is one digit off from being the bar code unit.

Eastbound NS 22K was the first NS train that I photographed in 2017. The leader is one digit off from being the bar code unit.

That's the Perry nuclear power plant blowing off steam behind a westbound CSX stack train.

That’s the Perry nuclear power plant blowing off steam behind a westbound CSX stack train.

NS train 206 passes a westbound CSX stack train. Twice CSX sent a westbound intermodal train past as we waited for an eastbound NS intermodal train.

NS train 206 passes a westbound CSX stack train. CSX twice sent a westbound intermodal train past as we waited for an eastbound NS intermodal train.

The lead of NS train 310 reflected in a pool of water in a drainage ditch. It was the only manifest freight we saw in five hours of railfanning.

The lead unit of NS train 310 reflected in a pool of water in a drainage ditch. It was the only manifest freight we saw in five hours of railfanning.

Another short intermodal train. Is this about giving better customer service or was the business handled by the train way down?

Another short intermodal train. Is this about giving better customer service or was the business handled by this train way down?

Bright colors for the motive power of an eastbound crude oil train.

Bright colors for the motive power of an eastbound crude oil train.

A westbound auto rack train cruises along on Track No. 1

A westbound auto rack train cruises along on Track No. 1

The day ended as it started with an eastbound CSX intermodal train.

The day ended as it started with an eastbound CSX intermodal train.

FRA Fines Sperry, CSX for Failure to Followup on Suspected Track Defect at Derailment Site

October 10, 2015

An operator for Sperry Rail Service failed to conduct a visual inspection of a suspected rail defect on a CSX route in West Virginia at the location where a crude oil train later derailed and exploded.

The Federal Railroad Administration has fined Sperry and CSX $25,000 apiece for failure to follow-up on the suspected defect.

FRA officials said that the defect became a broken rail, which caused the 27-car derailment last February.

The agency said it will issue new training and rail replacement recommendations in an effort to prevent similar accidents from happening.

The rail inspections were conducted on Dec. 17 and Jan. 12. During the December inspection, the Sperry inspection vehicle detected a rail defect, but the operator on duty did not conduct a visual inspection because he thought that rough track had caused the defect indication.

The January inspection also found evidence of a defect but neither CSX or Sperry personnel conducted a follow-up visual or hand inspection.

During the derailment, 15 tank cars burned and explosions occurred over three days. More than 378,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled during the incident.

No fatalities or serious injuries occurred, but one home and a garage were destroyed. The train was traveling at 33 mph in a 50 mph zone at the time of the derailment.

In a report, the FRA said the derailment was preventable and recommended the following for CSX:

• Train operators of internal rail flaw detector vehicles to identify and investigate non-valid testing locations more effectively.
• Continue to improve upon rail-defect technology using previous and real-time inspection data to better detect flaws.
• Establish a plan to replace rail with similar defects on high-hazard flammable train routes, such as those that handled crude-by-rail trains.

The FRA recommended that Sperry work with railroads to train operators in how to identify suspected rail flaws.

That training should include review of digital rail flaw tests immediately before new testing is conducted and/or real-time comparison or previous results with current, incoming data.

Agency officials have also released a safety advisory that emphasizes the importance of more detailed inspections where defects and flaws are suspected.

In a related move, the FRA said it will explore the need for railhead wear standards and potentially require railroads to reduce train speeds where risks may pose a safety risk.

CSX said in a news release that it is working in collaboration with the FRA to develop additional inspection processes that will enhance its ability to quickly and accurately identify rail flaws using technology provided by Sperry.

This includes the use of ultrasound sensors to detect internal defects, implement practices that exceed FRA safety standards, and implementing a process that combines transmitting data from thorough rail inspections with hand testing within 72 hours of being recorded.

CSX, EPA Reach Agreement on W.Va. Cleanup

March 10, 2015

CSX has reached an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the cleanup and restoration of land affected by a Feb. 16 derailment of a crude oil train in West Virginia.

The agreement will supersede an EPA order. CSX had agreed to submit within 21 days a comprehensive, long-term plan for cleaning up and restoring the areas affected by the derailment.

In agreeing to commit “significant resources” to cleaning up the derailment, CSX will participate in air and water monitoring and testing; recovering oil from Armstrong Creek, the Kanawha River and their tributaries and shorelines; and educating residents about potential effects from the incident, EPA officials said in a news release.

“The agreement between CSX and EPA provides a framework within which CSX can work, with oversight from EPA and West Virginia, to ensure that oil contamination from the derailment in Mount Carbon continues to be safely contained and that long lasting impacts are mitigated to protect human health and the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin.

The 109-car crude oil train had originated in North Dakota and was bound for a port in Virginia. Twenty-seven of its cars derailed, resulting in explosions and fires that prompted an evacuation of nearby residents.

CSX Reopens Track at W.Va. Derailment Site

February 27, 2015

One of the two tracks taken out of service last week by a derailment of a CSX crude oil train in West Virginia reopened on Thursday.

The opening of the line near Mt. Carbon allowed a logjam of coal and other revenue trains to pass the derailment site for the first time since Feb. 16.

Environmental protection agencies and contractors continued to work at the site to restore the second mainline track.

Workers completed the excavation around the derailment site on late Wednesday and a temporary roadbed was installed overnight.

Investigators have collected dozens of soil samples over the past few days in order to ensure that all contaminated soil has been removed.

Twelve tank cars lying adjacent to the newly laid roadbed and have been positioned for removal by rail.

A total of 97,000 gallons of oily-water mixture from the containment trenches dug along the river embankment near the derailment site has been recovered.

The oily-water mixture has been transported to the nearby Handley Yard to await disposal.

Environmental crews and federal investigators expect to remain at the derailment site for several more days as they collect information as part of their investigation to determine the cause of the incident.

Detoured and curtailed train movements will likely return to their normal routing through West Virginia over the next couple of days.

The Feb. 16 derailment sent 28 cars off the rails and resulted in several large explosions and evacuation of nearby residents.



Cold Hindering W. Va. Derailment Cleanup

February 21, 2015

Record-breaking cold was hindering cleanup efforts on Friday at the site in West Virginia where a CSX crude oil train derailed earlier in the week.

Workers had placed back onto the rails all but one of the 28 derailed cars. About 19 cars were included in the explosions and crews were continuing to carefully remove product from those cars involved in the explosions.

Crude oil in the tankers was being transferred from the damaged cars.

The process is expected to continue around the clock, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard, which oversees navigable waterways. The derails occurred in Mount Carbon last Monday.

“The safety of the residents and our response personnel remain the top priority,” says U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Federal On-Scene Coordinator Dennis Matlock. “We also continue efforts to contain, treat and recover product from the derailment scene.”

The Federal Railroad Administration said on Friday that the train was traveling at 33 mph in a 50 mph zone when it derailed. The cause of the derailment remains under investigation.

The train carried 3.1 million gallons of Bakken crude oil. About 6,810 gallons of oily-water mixture has been recovered from containment trenches dug along the river embankment.

The derailment has disrupted operations of Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal.

“Due to the temporary track closure, the westbound Cardinal has been originating in Indianapolis, rather than New York City. Amtrak Northeast Regional trains operating daily between New York City and Charlottesville, Va., are continuing to provide service over that route segment. The eastbound Cardinal from Chicago is truncated at Indianapolis, with chartered buses maintaining service to Cincinnati,” Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said.

CSX has been detouring freight traffic that normally uses the line.

Trains magazine reported on Friday that intermodal trains Q135 and Q136 were operating between North Baltimore, Ohio, and Portsmouth, Va., via former Baltimore & Ohio and Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac routes in northern West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia.

Some domestic coal traffic has been routed between Russell, Ky., and Spartanburg, S.C., across the railroad’s former C&O and Clinchfield Railroad territories.

Merchandise trains, operating as CSX L302 were serving freight terminals and their associated industries along the affected route both Thursday and Friday with service to South Charleston from Russell and again form Clifton Forge, Va., to Richmond, Va.

W.Va. Wreck Cleanup to Continue This Weekend

February 20, 2015

The cleanup of the site of a CSX crude oil train derailment in West Virginia is expected to continue through the weekend.

The derailment occurred on the former Chesapeake & Ohio mainline, which is also used by Amtrak’s Cardinal.

Amtrak has ceased operating the Chicago-New York Cardinal over its entire route through Feb. 25.

The Cardinal has been operating only between Chicago and Indianapolis with bus service offered between Indianapolis and Cincinnati

Train No. 51 did not depart from New York on Wednesday morning, although Amtrak did provide alternative transportation to those traveling as far west as Charlottesville, Va.

The same arrangement was expected to take place on Thursday and Sunday.

The derailment of the 109-car train on Monday near Mount Carbon, W.Va.,  sent 27 loaded crude oil tank cars off the tracks and resulted in a series of explosions that continued for more than 10 hours.

Railroad derailment specialty contractors have been dispatched to the scene and have been removing the burned out cars.

Nineteen of the derailed cars caught fire. CSX officials confirmed that all of the cars were model CPC 1232 cars.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board’s Office of Railroad, Pipeline, and Hazardous Materials have been in contact with the Federal Railroad Administration and CSX. CSX and the FRA are providing NTSB investigators with detailed damage reports and photographs of the derailed tank cars.

The investigators will compare the data with tank-car design specifications and similar derailments, including ones that occurred in Casselton, N.D., in December 2013 and Lynchburg, Va., in April 2014.

After the derailment, some of the tank cars released an unknown amount of crude, some of which likely seeped into the Kanawha River, NTSB officials said. A one-half-mile evacuation zone was established around the derailment site.

“This accident is another reminder of the need to improve the safety of transporting hazardous materials by rail,” said NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher Hart. “That is why this issue is included on our Most Wanted List. If we identify any new safety concerns as a result of this derailment, the board will act expeditiously to issue new safety recommendations.”

The train was traveling from North Dakota to Yorktown, Va. The cause of the derailment remains unknown.

An estimated 1,000 residents were forced out of their homes but had returned by late Tuesday.

Multiple agencies worked to restore power ahead of brutally cold record-breaking temperatures.

“Our primary mission has been to utilize the resources available to take care of restoring utility services to the affected communities efficiently,” West Virginia Homeland Security Director Jimmy Gianato said.

Officials at the scene were continuing to deploy environmental protective monitoring measures on land, air and in the nearby Kanawha River as well as a creek near the tracks, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

A unified command center, operated by a collaboration of local, state and federal agencies was established on Wednesday.

“The top priorities for response personnel remain the safety of the community and responders, and mitigating the impact to the environment,” said Coast Guard Captain Lee Boone, Federal on Scene Coordinator for the West Virginia derailment.

Workers have established several access roads into the derailment site and are removing equipment where possible.

Once all fires have been extinguished, crews will transfer oil from the damaged cars to other tanks for removal from the site.