FRA pushing further rail safety following derailment probe

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) said Tuesday it is seeking to further advance rail safety following its investigation into the CSX train derailment near Mount Carbon, West Virginia.

A CSX train transporting tank cars containing crude oil from North Dakota to Yorktown, Virginia’s transportation terminal derailed in February near Mount Carbon, West Virginia. Several tankers exploded, causing a fire that continued to burn for several days, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate and destroying a single home.

The FRA quickly launched an investigation. The investigation has been completed, and the FRA said Tuesday that the derailment was due to a broken rail. The broken rail was caused by a vertical split head rail defect, which CSX and Sperry Rail Service both overlooked when they conducted two separate inspections before the accident, the FRA said.

In light of the accident, the FRA announced plans for a Safety Advisory, which will encourage closer, more mindful inspections for flaws and defects.

“When we see a need for action, we will take it, and that is what FRA is doing today,” Acting FRA Administrator,  Sarah Feinberg said. “Broken rail is one of the leading causes of accidents. Railroads moving crude and other hazardous materials through and alongside communities bear significant and special responsibility. All railroads, not just CSX, must be more diligent when inspecting for internal rail flaws or when contracting out inspection work.”

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