NTSB: Speed Not an Issue in Train Derailment
Lynchburg, VA - The NTSB says their investigation will be a long and methodical one following the train derailment and fire Wednesday.CSX picked up the crude oil cars in Chicago. It was headed to Yorktown, VA. The crude oil came from Bakken Shale Fields in North Dakota.CSX and NTSB crews are working together to clear the remaining cars out. The cars themselves are coming under scrutiny. Some are asking if the type of tank car carrying that crude oil should have been on the tracks at all. "The on scene phase is a fact-gathering phase and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks," NTSB Lead Investigator James Southworth said. NTSB investigators say they will release new information throughout the fact gathering process, however we may not hear the results of this investigation for as long as a year and a half from now. "These types of incidents happen very quickly. But they take quite a bit of time to go through thoroughly," Southworth said. Investigators say a CSX train carrying crude oil passed through downtown Lynchburg around 2 p.m. traveling 24 miles per hour, below the speed limit of 25. "It is what we call a unit crude oil train, with 105 tank cars all carrying crude oil," Southworth said. A total of 13 tanks derailed, numbers 35 through 50 in the line of cars. Crews have been slowly moving the derailed cars away from the tracks, but continue to work on the three that fell into the James River. Now there are questions about the integrity of the cars. NTSB investigators say some of the cars involved in the accident were DOT 111, the class of tank car involved most-often in explosions of crude-carrying trains. However at this point, investigators cannot say if it was the DOT 111s that leaked. "Of which, which ones were compromised, ruptured...which ones have been damaged, I don't know details just yet," Southworth said. Investigators say it is unclear where this train came from, or where it was headed. At this point, all of the cars that were not derailed have been moved. Neither NTSB or CSX officials can say exactly how long it will take to move the damaged cars and repair the railroad tracks.