Derailed Train Cars Burning in Southwestern Pennsylvania

by Duane Nichols on August 3, 2017

Entire small town evacuated in SW Penna.

Derailed train of flammable chemicals from Chicago is latest tanker mishap

From an Article by Chuck Goudie and Barb Markoff and Christine Tresse, ABC Eyewitness News, August 03, 2017

An entire Pennsylvania town is still evacuated after a freight train from Chicago ran off the tracks and burst into flames.

At least 32 cars of a CSX freight train derailed an hour before sunrise on Wednesday. Two of the rail tankers, carrying propane and molten sulfur according to investigators, burst into flames. CSX officials said authorities were letting fires burn out, as the 800 residents of Hyndman were jolted from their sleep and then evacuated.

Some people refused to leave their homes according to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, even though they were living within the danger zone. No injuries have been reported.

The train was headed from Chicago to Selkirk, New York near Albany when it derailed and caught fire. Investigators said they didn’t know what caused the train to run off the rails.

“CSX’s top priority is to work cooperatively with first responders and other officials to protect the public’s safety” said railroad spokesman Rob Doolittle. “CSX personnel are on the scene assisting first responders, providing information about the contents of the train and expertise on responding to railroad incidents,” Doolittle said.

There have been more than 1000 freight train derailments in each of the last two years, according to federal railway safety records. Through May of 2017 there have been 455 freight train derailments in the U.S., some of them involving hazardous materials.

The train that ran off the tracks in Pennsylvania on Wednesday included five locomotives and 178 rail cars total. Of those, 128 cars were carrying mixed freight, including construction materials, paper and wood pulp along with the flammable materials that are burning. Authorities also reported 50 empty rail cars on the train.

The wreckage appears similar to so-called “bomb trains” first reported by the I-Team more than four years ago involving crude oil transports. While it is not believed that the train in Pennsylvania was carrying crude oil, there do appear to be numerous tanker cars derailed and piled up along the tracks.

Since the DOT-111 tankers were found to be prone to splitting during derailment, U.S. and Canadian regulators have ordered strict new crashworthiness standards. The move followed a July 2013 oil tanker derailment that wiped out downtown Lac Megantic, Canada and left 47 people dead.

In May 2015, the Federal Railroad Administration and Transport Canada announced specs for a new DOT-117 tanker that would have to be in place by May 2025.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: