CSX: Most cars that derailed in Washington back on tracks

AP News
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Posted: May 02, 2016 7:15 PM
CSX: Most cars that derailed in Washington back on tracks

WASHINGTON (AP) — CSX says train cars that derailed in the nation's capital over the weekend have largely been put back on the tracks, and workers on Monday finished offloading hazardous materials from two of the cars.

CSX said Monday evening that 15 of the 16 cars that derailed have been put back on tracks in preparation for them to be moved. The final car, which was significantly damaged, will be taken away by trailer.

No injuries were reported as a result of the derailment, which happened about 6:40 a.m. Sunday, but material the train was carrying was spilled. CSX said Monday evening that it had completed the offloading of sodium hydroxide and ethanol from two cars that derailed. Sodium hydroxide, commonly known as lye, is used to produce various household products including paper, soap and detergents, CSX said. It can irritate and burn the skin and eyes. CSX says about 750 gallons of a 15,000-gallon load were spilled. Ethanol is considered a hazardous material and it is flammable. CSX officials did not have a precise estimate of how much ethanol spilled, spokesman Rob Doolittle said. He said the leak was stopped "very quickly ... and the Federal Railroad Administration has characterized the leak as 'minor.'"

CSX, which is based in Jacksonville, Florida, has said the train had three locomotives and 175 cars, including 94 that were loaded with mixed freight, and 81 that were empty. The train was heading to Hamlet, North Carolina, from Cumberland, Maryland.

CSX says it is preparing to clean up the derailment site, which will involve replacing soil and laying new track. CSX officials haven't said how long the cleanup may take. The company says ongoing monitoring shows no negative effect on air quality.

Work at the site of the derailment affected Washington-area commuters Monday with one commuter rail line running reduced service, and that impact was expected to continue into Tuesday. The MARC commuter rail system, which serves Maryland, operated with reduced service on its Brunswick Line. Trains into Washington were stopping in Silver Spring, Maryland, the station before the capital, where passengers can transfer to the Metro rail system. Evening Brunswick Line trains departed out of Silver Spring instead of Washington, and the Maryland Transit Agency said in a statement late Monday that commuters can expect the same on Tuesday. Transit officials said in a statement that passengers should expect the limited trains MARC is running to be very crowded.

The derailment is also affecting two Amtrak trains on a line that runs from Chicago to Washington. Amtrak said Monday in a statement that its Capitol Limited train, which runs one train daily in each direction between Washington and Chicago, won't run between Pittsburgh and the District of Columbia. Amtrak will bus passengers to and from Pittsburgh to complete their journeys. The same impact is expected Tuesday.

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