Oil spill and fire from derailed train in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia

About 15 train tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed Wednesday afternoon in Lynchburg, Va., plunging several of them into the James River, sparking a massive fire and spilling oil.

The derailment prompted evacuations in the downtown district near the railway for hours until the massive fire that spewed black, acrid smoke was extinguished. There were no reports of injuries or damage to nearby buildings.

Downstream more than 100 miles, a spokeswoman for the city of Richmond said utility officials stopped capturing water from the river as a precaution until the extent of environmental damage caused by the oil spill became clear. Instead, Richmond is relying on a backup canal for water…

CSX Transportation, which operated the Chicago-to-Virginia freight train, said the fire erupted from three punctured cars after the 2:30 p.m. derailment. In a statement, the company said it was sending safety and environmental experts to the scene…

Wednesday’s fire is the latest in a series involving trains carrying crude oil as the nation’s drilling boom fuels a surge in oil transportation. Fearful of seeing similar accidents in their own jurisdictions, some officials have called for tougher safety regulations for freight train operators.

A significant portion of the oil-carrying rolling stock on US railroads is about as out-of-date as the ideology of politicians who fight 24/7 against modernizing our railroad system. I’m not certain why they hate railroads so much. They certainly don’t give a damn about people killed or the pollution of environments around North America as a result of their idjit mentality.

Not that the owners of railway companies are spending much – yet – on updating the ancient tankers they’re using to haul boomtown oil from the Dakotas and elsewhere.

10 thoughts on “Oil spill and fire from derailed train in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia

  1. Moral hazard says:

    Within minutes of the derailment and fire in Lynchburg, Massachusetts-based Global Partners announced that, starting June 1, it will require all oil shipped to its oil train terminal near Clatskanie, Oregon, be carried in a type of tank car known as the CPC-1232, which are built with puncture-resistant steel shields and other safety features. Global’s terminal handled more than 319 million gallons of oil in 2013 and drove the 250% increase in crude moving by rail in Oregon last year. http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2014/04/oil_train_terminal_near_clatsk_2.html#incart_m-rpt-1
    In addition, according to Federal investigators the chemicals the oil contains from the hydraulic fracturing process make it more flammable (IE: explosive) than traditional heavy crude. See http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/staticfiles/PHMSA/DownloadableFiles/1_2_14%20Rail_Safety_Alert.pdf and https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/11/20/2013-27785/safety-and-security-plans-for-class-3-hazardous-materials-transported-by-rail

  2. Nice pix says:

    July 4, 2014. MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) Crews on Sunday will attempt to remove three Boeing 737 fuselages that tumbled down a steep bank and into the Clark Fork River in western Montana after a train derailed. http://www.seattlepi.com/news/us/article/Airline-fuselages-to-be-pulled-from-Montana-river-5601936.php#photo-6559051 The train carried six fuselages. Three others also fell off but stayed on land. The fuselages were headed to Renton, Washington, to be assembled into completed airliners.

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