Chemical Leaks, PFAS & Local Train Derailments Recently

by Duane Nichols on March 11, 2023

Empty coal train derailment in the New River Canyon of West Virginia

CSX Train Derails In New River Gorge, Injuring 3 Railroad Workers

From an Article by Curtis Tate, WV public Broadcasting, March 10, 2023

In a statement, CSX said an empty coal train struck a rock slide before 5 a.m. near Sandstone.
[Sandstone is on the New River and WV Route 20 in Summers County, just South of the local interchange of I-64.]

The train’s four locomotives derailed and one caught fire. Two of the three CSX workers injured in a Wednesday derailment in the New River Gorge have been released from the hospital, the railroad said Friday. Another injured worker continues to receive treatment.

An engineer, conductor and engineer trainee were operating the westbound 109-car empty coal train early Wednesday when it struck large pieces of rock on the track near Sandstone.

All four locomotives and 22 cars derailed. One locomotive came to rest in the river, and leaking diesel fuel caught fire. By Friday, CSX said the derailed locomotives and cars had been removed from the site. The railroad said it expected to resume rail service on Saturday.

Amtrak’s Cardinal, which shares the affected track with CSX, was canceled in both directions for the remainder of the week.

As part of its restoration effort, CSX said it would excavate any soil or rock that came in contact with diesel fuel and replace it with clean material.


SEE ALSO: Confusion Reigned After Ohio Derailment, Hazmat Chief Testifies, Energy & Environment WVPB Staff, March 9, 2023

Eric Brewer, director of emergency services for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, said the decision to detonate five tank cars full of flammable vinyl chloride was poorly communicated.

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SEE ALSO: A Look At Chemical Leaks, Train Derailments And PFAS On This West Virginia Morning, Energy & Environment WVPB Staff, Feb. 27, 2023

A serious train derailment and chemical release in Ohio has dominated the headlines for the past few weeks. West Virginia has seen its own share of disasters with hazardous materials, including an oil train derailment and fire in 2015. Energy & Environment Reporter Curtis Tate spoke with Jesse Richardson of the West Virginia University Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic about those events.

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