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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) yesterday issued six safety recommendations following its investigation of an August 2017 CSX train derailment that released hazardous materials near Hyndman, Pennsylvania.
The train consisted of five locomotives and 178 rail cars — 128 loaded and 50 empty — when it derailed on Aug. 2, 2017. Three derailed tank cars containing hazardous materials were breached, resulting in a fire. No one was injured, but three homes were damaged and a 1-mile radius evacuation was ordered. CSX estimated the cost of damages at $1.8 million.
NTSB officials determined the probable cause of the derailment was the inappropriate use of hand brakes on empty rail cars to control train speed, and the placement of blocks of empty rail cars at the front of the train consist. Investigators also determined CSX operating practices contributed to the derailment, agency officials said in a press release.
Based on its investigation, the NTSB issued a total of six safety recommendations: one to the Federal Railroad Administration; three to CSX; one to the Association of American Railroads; and one to the Security and Response Training Center. The recommendations seek:• guidance for railroads to use in developing required risk reduction programs;• revision of rules for building train consists;• prohibiting use of hand brakes on empty rail cars for controlling train movement in grade territory; and• incorporation of the lessons learned from the derailment about fire-exposed jacketed pressure tank cars in first responder training programs.
The NTSB accident report is may be read here.