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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Senate confirms Sumwalt as NTSB chair

Robert Sumwalt III
Photo –

The U.S. Senate late last week confirmed Robert Sumwalt's nomination to a two-year term as chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Sumwalt, who succeeds Christopher Hart, has served on the board since 2006. Prior to joining the board, he was manager of aviation for the SCANA Corp.

Hart remains a member of the NTSB.

Meanwhile, the NTSB announced late last month that it has opened the public docket for its ongoing investigation into an August 2016 incident involving a rail tank-car breach and chlorine release in New Martinsville, West Virginia.

The incident occurred when the shell of rail tank-car AXLX 1702 cracked shortly after it was filled with a 90-ton load of liquefied compressed chlorine at the Axiall Corp. rail-car loading facility. The full load was released and formed a vapor cloud. Eight workers were treated for exposure injuries, including two that were transported to a hospital and released.

Tank car AXLX1702 shell crack as found after jacket and insulation removal.
Photo – NTSB

Significant vegetation damage also occurred downwind of the tank car. No water pollution was reported, according to an NTSB press release.
The public docket's release is part of the board's investigation. It does not yet include analysis, findings, recommendations or probable cause.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/8/2017