THOMAS BLACK and CHRISTINE HARVEY
On April 30, A
CSX Corp. (CSX) crude train derailed in Lynchburg,
Virginia, sparking a fire in at least three tank
cars, spilling oil into a river and forcing a partial
evacuation of the citys downtown.
No injuries were reported, and the
fire was out within about three hours after the accident. About
15 tank cars came off the tracks as the train rolled through
Virginia from Chicago, according to a statement from CSX, the
largest carrier in the eastern US.
Crude, once an almost-negligible
cargo for North American railroads, has grabbed
regulators attention after recent US and Canadian crashes
including the Quebec derailment that killed 47 people in July.
Canada tightened tank-car standards this month, and
the US is studying whether to follow suit. The Federal Railroad
Administration sent inspectors to Lynchburg.
The train was en route to a so-called
transloading facility where crude is transferred to barges,
Chief Executive Officer Mike Ward said by telephone. Virginia
is the home of a Plains All American Pipeline LP center in
Yorktown with daily capacity to unload about 140,000 barrels.
Brad Leone, a spokesman, didnt immediately respond to
e-mail and phone messages for comment.
Video broadcast by WSLS-TV in
Roanoke, Virginia, showed thick black smoke and flames
billowing from the side of tracks holding a row of tank cars.
The accident occurred near the
James River, which flows through the heart of
Lynchburg, about 181 miles (291 km) southwest of
The cause wasnt immediately
known, according a statement on the citys website. LuAnn
Hunt, a city spokeswoman, said the fire department had let the
fire burn out while looking for ways to contain the oil dumped
into the James. She said the accident occurred about 2 p.m.
New York time.
About 300 to 350 people were
evacuated from the area, Hunt said. Lynchburg has a population
of 76,500 and is located at the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge
We are aware of the derailment
in Lynchburg and are sending FRA inspectors to the scene
now, the agencys associate administrator, Kevin
Thompson, said in a statement.
Todays accident was the first
to spill crude from a CSX train, Ward said. The Jacksonville,
Florida-based railroad had a low-speed incident earlier this
year in Philadelphia that didnt release any oil, Ward
Oil tank cars made up the entirety of
the cargo, according to Ward, who said he didnt know the
length of the train involved in the crash. A train carrying
only crude would typically be about 100 cars, Ward
CSX rose 0.2 percent to $28.22 at the close in New
York, paring the carriers decline this year to 1.9
The accident occurred shortly before
New York Governor
Andrew Cuomo urged the White House to strengthen
oil-transport regulations. A letter from Cuomo and a state
report on crude safety sent to US officials were aimed at
helping prevent the disasters that have occurred in other
states and Canada as transit infrastructures adjust to the
crude oil boom, according to a statement from the
Companies from PBF Energy Inc. to
Phillips 66 are looking to boost crude-by-rail shipments to
refineries on the US East and West Coasts.
Phillips 66 said today it plans to
take delivery of 1,200 railcars by years end and have new
rail terminals operating in
New Jersey and Washington state in 2014s
second half. PBF is expanding rail capacity to 240,000 bpd by
the end of next quarter and studying a new rail terminal in