Broken Rail the Cause of Mount Carbon Derailment

The Federal Railroad Administration will push for stronger track inspector training. "Our country relies on the safe transportation of large quantities of energy products across the nation, and it is our responsibility to require operators to implement strict safety standards," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has determined that a broken rail is to blame for the derailment that caused 27 cars to derail, as well as a large fire that forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents. The derailment, which occurred Feb. 16 in Montgomery, W.Va., was caused by a vertical split head rail defect, according to a report. The defect was missed by CSX and its contractor, Sperry Rail Service, on two separate inspections before the accident.

FRA also detailed some calls to action: The agency will release a Safety Advisory, urging closer and more detailed inspections where defects and flaws are suspected, and strong training for rail inspection vehicle operators; it also will explore the need for rail-head wear standards.

The agency also received a commitment from CSX to require internal rail flaw operators to review previous inspection data along with real-time data to help identify conditions and flaws that have worsened.

"Our country relies on the safe transportation of large quantities of energy products across the nation, and it is our responsibility to require operators to implement strict safety standards," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "FRA's findings and action today should make it clear to rail operators that we will do exactly that."

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