Cumberland Times-News

February 19, 2013

CSX derailment under investigation

Jeffrey Alderton
Cumberland Times-News

— BLOOMINGTON — The cause of the early Monday derailment of 73 coal cars on CSX railroad tracks near Bloomington remains under investigation by the Federal Railroad Administration and CSX officials.

No injuries were reported in the incident that occurred at 1:45 a.m. as three eastbound locomotives were pulling 77 freight cars loaded with coal from Grafton, W.Va., according to Robert Sullivan, CSX spokesman in Philadelphia.

The derailment reportedly occurred without any effect on roads and the Savage River. No hazardous materials were involved.

“We are in the process of cleanup and we expect to have service restored tomorrow (Wednesday) morning,” Sullivan said in response to a Times-News inquiry made to CSX corporate headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla.

Two inspectors from the Federal Railroad Administration were on the scene Tuesday continuing their investigation, said FRA spokesman Rob Kulat. He said it could take up to a year before the accident investigation report is completed.

Monday’s derailment reportedly occurred without need or request from CSX for any first-responder units at the scene.

A check of 911 emergency centers in Garrett, Mineral (W.Va.) and Allegany counties yielded little information about the incident Monday as the Times-News received inquiries and information about the incident.

The Mineral County center said early Monday afternoon that “no derailment had occurred” although there was a report made to the center at Keyser about a runaway CSX train near Bloomington that was brought under control without incident.

The Garett County center said late Monday afternoon that the matter was referred to Allegany County 911 to handle.

However, the Allegany County center said Tuesday the agency was informed by CSX officials that no emergency response units were needed. 

Monday’s derailment reportedly occurred a few miles west of the site of a 76-car derailment on Jan. 30, 2000, that destroyed a residence and claimed the life of 15-year-old Eddie Rogers and injured other family members.

That derailment occurred in the area of state Route 135 and caused property damages estimated at more than $3 million, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB investigative report disclosed that the train failed to negotiate curves at excessive speed.

The accident occurred while the train descended a section of track known as the “17-mile grade” from Altamont to Bloomington, according to the NTSB.

The probable cause of the January 2000 derailment — according to the NTSB — was “the railroad’s practice of including dynamic braking in determining maximum authorized speed without providing the engineer with real-time information in the status of the dynamic braking system.”

Following its investigation, the NTSB made several safety recommendations to CSX.

Monday’s derailment stirred memories of local residents.

“It has brought back sad memories of the accident that happened 13 years ago,” said Bloomington resident Rebecca Bray. “Especially since it’s so close to the anniversary of the previous accident.”

Jeffrey Alderton may be contacted at jlalderton@times-news.com