Less Than 24 Hours After Virginia Oil Train Spill, Same Company Derails Again in Maryland

Written by Katie Valentine

Less than 24 hours after an oil train operated by CSX derailed and caught fire in Lynchburg, Va., on Wednesday, another CSX train carrying 8,000 tons of coal derailed in Bowie, Md., early Thursday morning.

CSX spokeswoman Kristin Seay said about 10 cars of the coal train went off the tracks, though the cars were all still upright and there are currently no safety or hazardous material concerns. According to the Baltimore Sun, however, it appears from initial photos that one coal train overturned, spilling its load of coal. CSX officials are currently investigating the scene of the derailment and don’t yet know the cause.

The CSX coal train derailement occurred less than a day after an oil train operated by the same company derailed near Lynchburg, Va., an accident which resulted in the loss of about 50,000 gallons of crude oil, according to a Lynchburg spokesperson.

It’s unknown, however, how much of that oil spilled into the James River and how much burned off after three of the 12 to 14 derailed cars caught fire. The spill has been contained and the oil only stretched about a quarter mile down the river, but officials still aren’t sure how much oil entered the river. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the derailment.

A Lynchburg spokesperson has said that the city’s water has not been affected, despite the oil and the fact that at least three of the train cars fell into the river. However, about 100 miles downriver in Richmond, authorities have stopped taking drinking water from the James River, drawing water from a separate canal instead as a safety precaution.

William Hayden, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, told CNN it was “too soon to say” how the oil, some of which continued to burn after it reached the river, will impact the environment.

The accident has brought renewed attention to the safety issues behind shipping oil by rail, a method that has surged along with oil and gas production in the U.S.; four times as much oil is shipped by rail today than in 2005. Along with that increase has come a surge in oil train incidents, with 2013 seeing more oil spilled in oil train accidents than in the previous four decades combined.

On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for increased regulations on oil trains in the wake of the Lynchburg spill.

“In addition to steps that states like New York are taking, the federal government must overhaul the safety regulations, starting with taking DOT-111 trains off the rails now,” Cuomo said. “These trains travel through populated communities in upstate New York and we cannot wait for a tragic disaster in our state to act.”

The Virginia Sierra Club, too, spoke out against the incident, saying that though the derailment fortunately did not result in any injuries, “there are continuing threats to public health and the environment.” The Sierra Club warned earlier this month that an increase of oil train traffic in Virginia could result in environmental damage or drinking water contamination.

“This accident is a potent reminder of the dangers that come with our dependence on dirty fuels and reinforces the need for better safety measures and increased emergency preparedness,” the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club said in a statement. “This train was one of many that pass along the James River, through more heavily populated areas including Richmond.

The coal and oil train derailments are just two of the long string of train accidents that have occurred in the past year. In February, 12,000 gallons of oil spilled from a train in Minnesota, leaking oil along the tracks for 68 miles. CSX has proposed sending its oil trains through Washington D.C., but local residents have been fighting back against the proposal.

This post originally appeared on ThinkProgress

Photo Credit: 13NewsNow via Twitter


Carrie-Anne Brown
Carrie-Anne B2 years ago

thanks for sharing

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

Sounds like the rails need repair.

angela l.
Angela L3 years ago

No wonder our gas price is rising sky high rapidly. Greed is the major cause to all problems and people become shallower and no respect of anything at all.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

Man, do we have ourselves in one heck of a mess. Trains are dangerous yet pipelines are worse. There really is no answer as Kamia said even if we could stop our need for oil the companies would ship it out which would add to the ocean being contaminated because of shipping accidents; which, of course, is already happening.

Johanna Moreno
Johanna Moreno3 years ago

United States is the worst that happened to earth!

Susanne P.
Susanne P3 years ago

All of their transports should be stopped immediately until further Investigation!

Gerald L.
Gerald L3 years ago

Shareholder profits over safety!

Train Derails In Calgary On Bridge, Carries Petroleum Product
Jun 27, 2013 - CALGARY - Calgary's mayor says Canadian Pacific Railway has apologized for the chaos caused by a train that derailed after a bridge over the swollen ... flooding that swamped the city.

New rail regulations a 'knee-jerk' reaction, CP Rail boss says
CBC.ca ‎- 1 day ago
Lac-Mégantic (47 died from train explosion) mayor lobbies Washington for more rail safety ... "We have not had a serious, major derailment in a long time and I think it's a

CP Rail cuts safety inspectors in Cranbrook - Cranbrook ...
Aug 16, 2013 - Canadian Pacific has laid off safety inspectors known as railway carmen ... Teamsters represents CP Rail employees such as locomotive ... The chemical is to blame for the deadly April 2013 Texas fertilizer plant explosion.

CP, Canadian Pacific & CN, Canadian National owned by Warren Buffet run heavily into the US.

Ron G.
Ron G3 years ago

Just an informative reminder to Julia C. and others who may not know or remember. Pipelines have leaked and devastated residential neighorhoods like in Arkansas. People were forced out of their homes, out of their neighborhoods, out of the area and suffered the losses. I'm sorry from the oil industry doesn't cut it. These people were instantaneously uprooted because the tar sands crude leaked, contaminated, and is unable to be cleaned because they can't. Worthless attempts to clean would only contaminate more. These oil honchos, like the Koch brothers and others, want to buy their POTUS if we'll let them. Could you imagine what would happen if they controlled the resistance to letting them do whatever they wanted. That is akin to throwing out the nuclear waste with the trash in the local dumpster. Who cares, somebody else will fix it attitudes, while they jet off to a environmentally clean place to live. Please believe that your vote counts big time, and please use it to help correct this madness.

Gerald L.
Gerald L3 years ago

The propaganda machine has started already, the Star; thanks to North America-wide backlog in permissions to construct oil pipelines.

DOT-111 tank car - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Up to 80% of the Canadian fleet, and 69% of U.S. rail tank cars are DOT-111 type . ... the Bakken region may be more flammable than traditional heavy crude oil. ..... old research when they ordered the DOT-111 tank cars (which were already in .... incorporating text from public domain works of the United States Government ...

Railways ordered to stop using older tank cars in Canada ...
Apr 23, 2014 - The federal government is pulling 5000 older tank cars used to haul ... or crude oil on Canadian tracks if they are not upgraded with thicker ... thanks to North America-wide backlog in permissions to construct oil pipelines.

These pipeline proposals are all about shipping oil offshore, whether it be out of Texas, Lockport Maine, St. John New Brunswick, Vancouver or Kitamat British Columbia. Keep up the opposition. The railways are in horrible shape, and as 1 person commented Springtime is worse for failing rail-roadbeds with the frost thawing and washouts from flooding.

Kamia T.
Kamia T3 years ago

Sadly, Dave, as we see, even if every single person in the US no longer needed a drop of oil or natural gas, greed Big Oil would simply keep shipping it, only now out of the country, decimating our lands to provide fuel to others. We need to find valid, really affordable alternative means of transport, heating and cooking, so that the entire world can tell Big Oil to pound sand.