Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky’

Debris From Mudslide Caused CSX Derailment

September 27, 2022

Federal investigators said a 2020 CSX derailment in Kentucky was likely caused by debris on  the track after a mudslide.

The derailment occurred on Feb. 13, 2020, near Draffin, Kentucky, on a route that is wedged between the Russel Fork River and a hillside.

The mudslide occurred following several weeks of rain, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report released last week.

Investigators said the area had received more than 300 percent of its normal rainfall in the two weeks before the derailment occurred.

Three locomotives, a buffer car and four tank cars derailed. Two of the tank cars released 38,400 gallons of denatured ethanol.

The report said the spilled ethanol combined with diesel fuel from the locomotives and ignited, resulting in a locomotive being destroyed by fire.

The train crew was able to escape through the river and sustained minor injuries.

Although the locomotive engineer applied the train’s emergency brakes, there was not enough time to avoid a collision with the debris on the track.

A weather alert system that CSX relied upon “did not account for the impact of the unusual increases and accumulation of precipitation” over several weeks, and elevated temperatures in the month before the derailment, the NTSB report said.

The NTSB said the severity of the derailment might have been reduced had the two tank cars that spilled ethanol been placed further toward the rear of the train.

The cars were of the USDOT-111 type. The NTSB has in earlier reports made a similar recommendation about the placement of that class of tank cars.

CSX Aids Kentucky Flood Victims

August 13, 2022

CSX is helping the relief efforts in eastern Kentucky where heavy rain in late July forced hundreds of people out of their homes and left at least 35 people dead.

The Class 1 carrier donated $50,000 to the American Red Cross for disaster relief and $25,000 to the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund.

It also provided $5,000 and transportation services to Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation, which assembled former Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus housing cars into a nine-car train to provide 100 beds for relief workers in the region.

CSX crews moved the train into position as close as safely possible to the affected area.

In a news release, CSX said it is matching employee donations up to $1,000, dollar-for-dollar—to the CSX Employees Disaster Relief Fund (EDRF) or the Red Cross through its Matching Gifts program.

Drive Up Sites Named to Replace Clinchfield Santa Train

October 30, 2020

Drive-up gift stations have been chosen to replace the annual Santa Train on the former Clinchfield Railroad.

Toys will be distributed on Nov. 21 at Food City grocery stores in Pikeville, Kentucky, and in St. Paul, Clintwood, and Weber City, Virginia.

The gift stations replaced the long-standing Santa train. CSX earlier this year said it would suspend the Santa train this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plans Announced for Rail Heritage Facility

October 23, 2020

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation said this week it will transform a former CSX facility into a multipurpose development featuring food, arts, music, and a heritage rail facility.

Funding of the project includes a $120,000 contribution by the Commonwealth of Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and investments and support by local industries.

Known as The Yard, the facility will be located on 40 acres situated between Irvine and Ravenna.

The Yard will have a 4,500-seat multi-purpose facility for concerts and other events.

Former railroad shop building will be used in the restoration work on Chesapeake & Ohio 4-8-4 No. 2716.

The shop will be open as an interactive museum and available for area vocational schools to help students learn a trade.

Group Seeks to Build Kentucky Rail Line

September 5, 2020

A non-profit entity is seeking to build a 12-mile rail line in Kentucky and Tennessee that would link two existing short line railroads to a Kentucky river port.

The Ken Tenn Regional Rail Partners has asked U.S. Surface Transportation Board approval in order to build the line between the TennKen Railroad near the Hickman, Kentucky, Riverport and the Union City Terminal Railroad in Tennessee.

Two segments of the line of nearly 3.5 miles would use abandoned rights-of-way.

Ken Tenn Partners represents the Fulton County Industrial Development Authority of Kentucky and the Industrial Development Board of Union City, Tennessee

The STB petition said the current option for eastbound traffic from the port is a two-lane highway between Hickman and Union City.

Current rail service to the port is limited because the TennKen line connecting the port to an interchange with Canadian National in Dyersburg, Tennessee, is in poor condition.

The new line would provide an additional interchange point with CN via the Union City Terminal Railroad point at Rives, Tennessee.

The states of Kentucky and Tennessee along with the U.S. Department of Transportation have provided more than $700,000 in funding for the project.

NS Donates SD40-2 to Kentucky Group

June 20, 2020

Norfolk Southern has donated an SD40-2 locomotive to the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation.

The unit, No. 6212, saw service in the Appalachian coalfields during its 42-year service life.

Chris Campbell, president of the nonprofit, said the diesel will be placed in the organization’s collection and used to “tell the story of how railroads built our region and the nation as a whole.”

No. 6162 was built in May 1978 by Electro-Motive Division for the Norfolk & Western.

It is expected to remain in operational condition and will be displayed in Irvine, Kentucky.

NTSB Says Landslide Caused CSX Derailment

March 28, 2020

A landslide has been determined to have caused a February derailment on the CSX Kingsport Subdivision in Kentucky that spilled denatured ethanol.

In a preliminary report, the National Transportation Safety Board said it will examine hillside slide detection and weather alerts, and the performance of DOT-111A, DOT-117 and DOT-117R tank cars in this and other accidents.

The agency said its probe will review the positioning of different tank car types in train consists.

The early morning derailment on Feb. 13 left the train’s engineer and conductor with minor injuries.

The train had three locomotives, two buffer cars and 96 loaded tank cars when it derailed in Draffin, Kentucky, along the Russell Fork River.

Two of the four derailed tank cars spilled 38,400 gallons of ethanol. An ensuring fire engulfed the locomotives and second and third tank cars.

All three locomotives and one buffer car also derailed.

The NTSB report noted that the area had received heavy rain and a landslide covered the tracks with debris.

The train crew reported the debris was as high as the nose of the lead locomotive.

The engineer said sight distances were around five car lengths due to rain, fog, curves and darkness.

The train had been traveling about 25 mph, which the NTSB said was within the operational speed of the tracks, which were not equipped with a positive train control system.

The train crew escaped their burning locomotive by jumping into the river. Six to 10 homes in the area were evacuated.

2 CSX Workers Hurt in Kentucky Derailment

February 14, 2020

Two CSX employees were hospitalized when their train derailed after striking a landslide and caught fire on Thursday morning in Draffin, Kentucky.

The two crew members were reported to have non-life threatening injuries at Pikeville Medical Center.

In a statement, CSX said the southbound train had three locomotives, 96 loaded ethanol cars and two loaded sand cars.

CSX said five of the cars derailed, including four ethanol tanks and one sand car.

The train was reported to be the K429-11 and the derailment occurred on the Kingsport Subdivision five miles north of Elkhorn City.

Lead unit AC4400CW No. 198 plunged nose first into the Big Sandy River.

Eyewitness accounts said the two crew members escaped through the nose of the 198 and stood partly submerged in the water yelling for help.

One resident who heard the crew said they were saying one of them was injured would need to be evacuated by boat or helicopter.

A boat sent by the Millard Fire Department arrived shortly thereafter and got the crew members off the locomotive before fire reached it.

The landslide is thought to have been triggered by two weeks of rain in the area.

The railroad said it had sent environmental monitoring devices to the scene.

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet was sampling water near the derailment site to ensure that was safe to drink.

Two water districts, Mountain Water District and the City of Pikeville, were affected but had employees on site to monitor and control the impact.

The derailment occurred near intake facilities for the water systems.

“We got a 911 call of a train derailment just above the Draffin bridge, which is where we’re standing here, and the engines were on fire,” said an emergency official. “Where the fire was at the time near the derailment, because of the where the fire was, in case of explosion.”

A man who lives near the derailment site said he saw an orange glow and flames were leading 50 to 60 feet into the air. Draffin is located in Pike County.

After the fire died down, CSX crews pulled the non derailed cars away from the scene.

Another landslide occurred at the site and pushed a tank car into the river.

Federal Court Overrules Kentucky Blocked Crossing Law

February 1, 2020

State laws designed to discourage railroads from blocking grade crossings that have the effect of regulating railroad operations are impermissible under federal law, a judge has ruled.

The case involved a Kentucky law that was challenged by the Association of American Railroads.

A federal court in rendering the ruling in favor of AAR acknowledged that states have historically had a role in regulating local highways.

But the Kentucky law has the effect of regulating railroads and that is the province of federal law, the court ruled.

“ . . . the state does not have the authority to regulate highway safety to the extent that its laws require the railroad to effect such substantial changes,” the ruling said.

At issue was a case that began with police in Pulaski and McCreary counties issuing citations to Norfolk Southern under a state law that stated trains cannot block roadways for more than five minutes.

The Pulaski citations were issued for blocking Richardson Lane near a depot in Burnside.

Most of the citations said trains were stopped for between 15 to 20 minutes.

NS contended in court that five minutes is not long enough to perform all of the safety checks needed following a crew change.

An NS manager said that those checks can take 15 to 20 minutes if everything goes well.

Although NS entered pleas of guilty to 11 misdemeanor citations, the AAR filed a lawsuit on the railroad’s behalf in a federal court against Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield and Pulaski Sheriff Greg Speck in their official capacities, as well as the Sheriff and County Attorney for McCreary County.

After the court ruled against him, Hatfield issued a statement saying that although he was disappointed in the ruling, local authorities would obey it as they review their options for an appeal.

He said the state court cases should not be affected “until we have either exhausted our appeals, or made the decision not to appeal.”

Kentucky Miners Block Another CSX Coal Train

January 15, 2020

Kentucky coal miners who say they have yet to be paid for all of their work blocked a coal train on CSX tracks on Monday.

The miners, who are employed by Quest Energy, prevented a loaded coal train from leaving a mine near Pikeville on the Coal Run Subdivision.

News reports indicate the miners said they have not been paid in three weeks, with their last paychecks having been deposited into their bank accounts in late December for work completed in a pay period ending Dec. 22.

They contend that Quest has not paid them since then.

The 120-car train was carrying metallurgical coal and had been loaded on Sunday night.

The miners allowed a CSX crew to retrieve two locomotives from the train provided that the loaded coal hoppers were left behind.

It is not clear what is the destination of the coal train ,which had 20 cars filled with coal mined by a company not owned by Quest.

Quest parent company American Resources Corporation took issue in a statement with the miners’ claim they had not been paid for their work.

The statement contended that some employees are behind between one and eight days on being paid and that Quest is working to pay them.

The statement attributed the situation to Quest’s efforts to make some mines more productive combined with “a short-term blip in the coal markets.”

Quest said it expects to resolve a “few short-term issues” in the near future.

The blockade was the second to occur in Kentucky within the past year by miners who said they had not been paid for their work.

Last July minors at a Harlan County mine prevented a coal train loaded by Blackjewel to leave on the CSX Poor Fork Subdivision.

At the time Blackjewel was in bankruptcy proceedings and the protesting miners had been laid off without being paid.

That standoff lasted into the fall and ended when the miners began to receive paychecks following intervention in the bankruptcy case by state and federal officials.