Defect Discovered In Tracks Prior To Lynchburg Train Derailment

Richmond, VA - Representatives of the Railroad Safety and Security Task Force met in Richmond Wednesday where they announced that in a track inspection CSX performed just 24 hours before 17 train cars derailed in downtown Lynchburg, a defect was found. Requirements though give CSX ample, perhaps too much time, to fix the defect. What was it that forced cars off their tracks and into the James River? State officials announced a possible cause during the first Railroad Safety and Security Task Force Meeting in Richmond Wednesday. "Railroads are responsible for the safety of their tracks. They're supposed to inspect these things based on the class and what it carries" said Massoud Tahamtani, Director of the State Corporation Commission Division of Utility and Railroad Safety. The CSX rail inspection that took place 24 hours before the derailment discovered a defect in those downtown Lynchburg tracks. The problem is, railroad companies have 30 days to address any issues found during inspection. "As you can imagine with two inspectors, even if you coordinate with two from FRA, it's a lot of work that needs to be done" said Tahamtani. Tahamtani also announced a need for more rail inspectors. Five are responsible for the thousands of miles of track blanketing the state. "I hope that, you know that wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back" said Pat Calvert, Upper James Riverkeeper for The James River Association. Calvert said he's hopeful the newly formed commission will have some serious solutions, but talk he says, can be cheap. "I'm not certain that there's enough assurance through regulations that those tankers are safe to be rolling through our communities, past our businesses and homes and right alongside our river for a couple hundred miles" he said. No word yet from officials on what the actual defect was. The ongoing NTSB investigation will be the ultimate determination of whether or not the defect caused the derailment, something that could take upwards of a year to complete.