Posts Tagged ‘CSX West Virginia derailment’

CSX Derailment Halts Traffic in W.Va.

June 28, 2018

No injuries were reported and nearby residents were evacuated after a CSX train derailed on Wednesday morning in St. Albans, West Virginia.

Police Chief Joe Crawford said the evacuations were a precaution.

The derailment occurred about 7:15 a.m. and involved a coal train that derailed 20 cars.

The incident occurred near a crossover switch at the east end of St. Albans on the Kanawha Subdivision.

First responders said a small amount of coal tumbled into a nearby creek. Officials said the train was not hauling hazardous materials and the environmental impact is minimal.

The evacuation plans were activated in the event that flooding occurred.

Workers were expected to have the tracks cleared and rebuilt within 24 to 48 hours.

Amtrak’s eastbound Cardinal was halted at Huntington, West Virginia, and its westbound counterpart was canceled.

The coal train was traveling to Hinton, West Virginia.

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.

Derailed CSX Oil Train Had Newer Tank Cars

February 18, 2015

The CSX crude oil train that derailed and burned in West Virginia had newer model tank cars.

In the meantime, the fires that ignited after the train jumped the tracks on Monday had started to burn themselves out and workers had begun the task of removing the charred hulks from the scene.

Hundreds of families were evacuated and nearby water treatment plants were temporarily closed in the aftermath of the accident.

The burning cars shot fireballs into the sky and leaked oil into a Kanawha River tributary. A nearby home was destroyed by fire.

The train, which originated in North Dakota and was bound for an oil depot in Yorktown, Va., was carrying about 70,000 barrels of crude oil.

The tank cars used in the train were model CPC-1232, which were designed during safety upgrades voluntarily adopted by the industry four years ago.

The same model spilled oil and caught fire in Ontario on Saturday and last year in Lynchburg, Va.

Federal regulators are considering requiring such upgrades as thicker tanks, shields to prevent tankers from crumpling, rollover protections and electronic brakes that could make cars stop simultaneously.

Those regulations, which are currently under review by the White House, means phasing out use  of tens of thousands of older tank cars used to carry highly flammable liquids.

“This accident is another reminder of the need to improve the safety of transporting hazardous materials by rail,” said Christopher Hart, acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

But industry officials say implementing those proposals would be too costly. The Railway Supply Institute estimates that $7 billion has been spent to put 57,000 of the newer model cars into service.

“We have billions invested in tank cars,” said Bob Greco, a senior official with the American Petroleum Institute. “Every day new, modern 1232 tank cars are coming into service.”

Nonetheless, some tank car manufacturers manufacturers support requiring thicker shells and other protections even as the oil industry worries that implementing changes too quickly could slow the U.S. energy boom.

“We think we can reduce the magnitude of these incidents, in part with a safer tank car,” said Jack Isselmann, a senior vice president of Greenbrier Cos., an Oregon-based tanker-car maker.

But he said tank car orders were slow because leasing companies were waiting for the final federal rule, expected to set the standards for new tank cars as well as a timetable for retrofits.

Oil shipments by rail jumped from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to more than 435,000 in 2013, driven by a boom in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota and Montana.

In 2009, U.S. railroads transported about 21,000 barrels of oil a day. Today they carry more than 50 times that amount, according to federal data, as fracking-fueled oil production in North Dakota outpaced pipeline capacity and trains became the easiest way to get crude to refineries.

Pipeline limitations force 70 percent of the crude to move by rail, according to American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.

Reports of leaks and other oil releases from tank cars have risen from 12 in 2008 to 186 last year, according to Department of Transportation records reviewed by The Associated Press.

Last Saturday, 29 cars of a 100-car Canadian National train carrying diluted bitumen crude derailed in a remote area 50 miles south of Timmins, Ontario, spilling oil and catching fire. That train was headed from Alberta to Eastern Canada.

In the most serious incident, a train derailed on July 6, 2013, in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, killing 47 people.

Railroads have declined to disclose the exact routes used by oil trains. Some railroads, including CSX have filed lawsuits to prevent states from publicizing them.

Monday’s derailment occurred near unincorporated Mount Carbon just after passing through Montgomery, a town of 1,946.

The train had 109 cars of which 26 of them left the tracks. One person — the owner of the destroyed home — was treated for smoke inhalation, but no other injuries were reported.

The CSX engineer and conductor uncoupled the locomotives from the train and walked away unharmed. The NTSB said its investigators will compare this wreck to others.

CSX regional vice president Randy Cheetham said no cause of the accident has yet been determined. He said the tracks had been inspected just three days before the wreck.

“They’ll look at train handling, look at the track, look at the cars. But until they get in there and do their investigation, it’s unwise to do any type of speculation,” he said.

The explosions that followed the derailment frightened local residents. Morris Bounds Jr., a 44-year-old general contractor, said he was sitting in his living room when he heard a series of booms that shook the ground like an earthquake.

His father, who lives 400 yards away, called and frantically told him a train had derailed next to his house.

The younger Bounds hopped in his pickup truck and sped toward his father’s home. Before he got there, he saw his father running barefoot through the snow.

Behind him, flames were leaping from spilled-over tanker cars and his father’s home was already burning.

“It was like a horror movie trying to get to him,” the young Bounds said. “I had seen cars piled up and flames shooting through them. He was just running for his life.”

Bounds said he was relieved that his mother wasn’t in the house. She is recovering from heart surgery and was readmitted to the hospital with the flu.

Within a minute or so of driving away, the two men saw the tankers begin to explode, sending shock waves through the air and huge balls of flames that rose against the mountains.

“Everything they owned was there,” he said of his parents’ home. But, he added: “I got him out of there safely.”

By Tuesday evening, utility company crews were restoring electricity, water treatment plants were reopening  and most of the local residents were back home.

Initial tests showed no crude near water plant intake points, state Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater said.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s acting administrator, Sarah Feinberg, and chief safety officer, Robert Lauby, will visit the site. Investigators from the FRA and the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration were at the scene already.

Shares of CSX Corp. were down 0.22 percent to $36 in pre-marker trade following the accident.