News Wire: Fire and derailment in southern Pennsylvania

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Posted by Brian Schmidt on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 9:33 AM

HYNDMAN, Pa. — Firefighters are battling a blaze from a derailed CSX Transportation freight train early Wednesday morning. An eastbound CSX Transportation freight train derailed just west Hyndman, between Bedford, Pa., and Cumberland, Md., ea...

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2017/08/02-csx-derailment-and-fire

Brian Schmidt, Associate Editor Trains Magazine

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 10:26 AM

178 cars, 10,600 feet, 18,200 tons, 5 engines 3 dead in tow. key train...

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 10:51 AM

Probably trying to get a place to sort the cars out. 

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Posted by ruderunner on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 11:31 AM

Was the train decending the g rade? Do Dynamics work even if the prime mover is shut down?

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 11:37 AM

ruderunner
Was the train decending the g rade? Do Dynamics work even if the prime mover is shut down?

No - prime mover has to be running to provide cooling air to disapate the heat that gets generated by dynamic braking.

Hyndman is the bottom of the East slope of Sand Patch grade.

No assertions yet that this was a runaway.

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Posted by slotracer on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 1:41 PM

What is a Chicago to Selkirk train doing SE of Pittsburg on the old B&O ??????

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 4:02 PM

slotracer
What is a Chicago to Selkirk train doing SE of Pittsburg on the old B&O ??????

My sources indicate the train was Q388 - in my working days it was Chicago to Selkirk, via Willard, Cumberland, Baltimore & Philadelphia.

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Posted by Euclid on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 7:32 PM
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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 9:19 PM

BaltACD

 

 
slotracer
What is a Chicago to Selkirk train doing SE of Pittsburg on the old B&O ??????

 

My sources indicate the train was Q388 - in my working days it was Chicago to Selkirk, via Willard, Cumberland, Baltimore & Philadelphia.

 

I had heard that Mr. Harrison was studying running some NY trains on the ex-B&O to see if the Water Level Route could be single tracked, but you seem to be indicating that CSX was already running trains over Sand Patch to Selkirk.  Why would CSX have taken such a long and hilly route, when they already had the Water Level Route?

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 10:36 PM

MidlandMike
 
BaltACD
 
slotracer
What is a Chicago to Selkirk train doing SE of Pittsburg on the old B&O ?????? 

My sources indicate the train was Q388 - in my working days it was Chicago to Selkirk, via Willard, Cumberland, Baltimore & Philadelphia. 

I had heard that Mr. Harrison was studying running some NY trains on the ex-B&O to see if the Water Level Route could be single tracked, but you seem to be indicating that CSX was already running trains over Sand Patch to Selkirk.  Why would CSX have taken such a long and hilly route, when they already had the Water Level Route?

To allot more space for Intermodal's on the Water Level Route

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Posted by n012944 on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 10:38 PM

slotracer

What is a Chicago to Selkirk train doing SE of Pittsburg on the old B&O ??????

 

Why not?  The train doesn't carry Selkirk blocks out of Chicago, so why is there an issue with the routing?

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, August 03, 2017 6:59 AM

Are we to understand that the train only had 2 operating locos and 3 dead locos going down sand patch ?  Balt what is the equivalent axel limit for dynamics going down Sand Patch ?  If some of the dead could have been on line just for dynamics ? ? ?  Another penny wise pound foolish example ? 

Oh wait ---  Operator error ? Nuts.

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Posted by MP173 on Thursday, August 03, 2017 8:07 AM

Not sure about today, but at one time there were two Chicago - Selkirk trains so it would make sense that one would handle Selkirk blocks (Albany and Boston) while the other would be a long manifest with multiple drops and pickups and it ends in Selkirk with Cumberland, Philly, and other traffic.

 

Ed

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, August 03, 2017 8:26 AM

blue streak 1
Are we to understand that the train only had 2 operating locos and 3 dead locos going down sand patch ?  Balt what is the equivalent axel limit for dynamics going down Sand Patch ?  If some of the dead could have been on line just for dynamics ? ? ?  Another penny wise pound foolish example ? 

Oh wait ---  Operator error ? Nuts.

Since EHH's operating practices pronouncements I don't know what is actually being done.  When I was working, if the head end power did not have sufficient Dynamic Braking ability - either the rear end helper that assisted the train from Connellsville to Sand Patch would stay on the train down to Hyndman for additional braking power; or a helper headuqarted at Cumberland, after assisting at train from Hyndman to Sand Patch would attach to the Eastbound train needing additional braking and assist the train back down the grade to Hyndman.  When necessary both the strategys could be used on the same train if necessary.

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Posted by n012944 on Thursday, August 03, 2017 6:33 PM

MP173

Not sure about today, but at one time there were two Chicago - Selkirk trains so it would make sense that one would handle Selkirk blocks (Albany and Boston) while the other would be a long manifest with multiple drops and pickups and it ends in Selkirk with Cumberland, Philly, and other traffic.

 

Ed

 

Selkirk traffic runs on two trains out of Chicago.  Q392 carries the traffic out of the BRC, while Q368 carries it out of Barr.  Q388 does not pick up a Selkirk block until the train reaches Lordstown, Oh.

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Saturday, August 05, 2017 11:14 AM

BaltACD
blue streak 1
Are we to understand that the train only had 2 operating locos and 3 dead locos going down sand patch ?  Balt what is the equivalent axel limit for dynamics going down Sand Patch ?  If some of the dead could have been on line just for dynamics ? ? ?  Another penny wise pound foolish example ? 

Oh wait ---  Operator error ? Nuts.

I have read that EHH is intent on eliminating the use of helpers.  Based on the train data above -
"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by Euclid on Saturday, August 05, 2017 12:30 PM

Is there any news or evidence indicating that this train was running away when it derailed?

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Posted by caldreamer on Saturday, August 05, 2017 12:39 PM

Here are the rules for going over the Sand Patch from the CSX Cumberland Division Employees Timetable.  MP 188 through 204 is the area in question. See Section 36 to the end.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, August 05, 2017 1:03 PM

Keystone Subdivision Special Instructions relating to operations on grades.

CSX Baltimore Division Time Table - April 1, 2015

4466 PLACING EMPTY CARS IN TRAINS

Empty Car Placement Train Classification Instructions

for Manifest Trains:

Empty cars 80 feet and longer (other than a box car) must

be placed in the train in such a location that the trailing

tonnage behind these empty cars does not exceed the

amount listed below. In territory where helper locomotives

are used on the rear of the train, their tonnage rating should

be subtracted to the trailing tonnage listed below when

determining the location for the restricted car(s):

Between Direction Tonnage

Hyndman &

Sand Patch

Westward 3,500Between Direction Tonnage

Connellsville

& Sand

Patch

Eastward 5,100

Connellsville

& New

Castle

Eastward &

Westward

13,300

Empty Car Placement Instructions for Intermodal Trains

Not Containing Military Equipment:

Empty cars 80 feet and longer must be placed in the train in

such a location that the trailing tonnage behind these empty

cars does not exceed the amount listed below. In territory

where helper locomotives are used on the rear of the train,

their tonnage rating should be subtracted to the trailing

tonnage listed below when determining the location for the

restricted car(s):

Between Direction Tonnage

Hyndman &

Sand Patch

Westward 4,750

Connellsville

& Sand

Patch

Eastward 8,500

Connellsville

& New

Castle

Eastward &

Westward

13,300

Car Placement Instructions for Intermodal Trains

Containing Military Equipment:

An empty single platform intermodal flat car which is 80 feet

and longer must be placed in the train in such a location that

the trailing tonnage behind these empty cars does not

exceed the amount listed below. In territory where helper

locomotives are used on the rear of the train, their tonnage

rating should be subtracted to the trailing tonnage listed

below when determining the location for the restricted car(s):

Between Direction Tonnage

Hyndman &

Sand Patch

Westward 3,500

Connellsville

& Sand

Patch

Eastward 5,100

Connellsville

& New

Castle

Eastward &

Westward

13,300

Unit auto train loaded or empty do not have trailing tonnage

restrictions.

4500 ENSURING AUTHORIZATION TO MOVE SHIPMENT

Double Stack and Multi-Level Movements

Unless otherwise authorized by the Clearance Bureau or

Network Operations, the following are the maximum double

stack and multi-level heights allowed on the main track and

sidings. CSX Train Documentation will list this equipment as

restricted and will show applicable height dimensions.

MP Locations Double Stack Multi-Level

Keystone SD 20'2" 20'2"

5. INSTRUCTIONS RELATING TO AIR BRAKE AND

TRAIN HANDLING RULES

5406 B PROTECTING THE DIESEL ENGINE FROM

FREEZING

Maximum units on line

If the temperature is less than 25 degrees Fahrenheit the

following classes of locomotives must be kept on line with

diesel engines running even if not needed: SW-15, MP-15,

MP15T, U18B, B30-7. Other classes in the CSX fleet are

equipped with an automatic rev-up feature to prevent

damage and can remain isolated.

5502 A LIMITING TRACTIVE EFFORT

To limit draft forces, the maximum trailing tonnage for

westward trains handled with only head-end power will be

restricted to 7,000 tons.

1. On grades where this tonnage will be exceeded, trains will

have a rear-end helper.

2. If not on rear-end, the helper must be appropriately

positioned as an in-train helper or,

3. The trailing tonnage must be reduced.

5559 STEEP GRADE (1% OR MORE) TRAIN HANDLING

Brake Pipe Pressure –

The brake pipe pressure on the rear of eastward loaded

trains must be 75lbs or higher prior to passing over summit

at Sand Patch.

A running release of the train brake will not be made on

eastward freight trains operating in this territory.

When the total brake pipe reduction exceeds 18lbs on any

eastward freight train operating Sand Patch to Hyndman, the

train will be stopped. 30% hand brakes will be applied to the

head end of the train to hold it on the grade during the

recharge procedure.

If needed, hand brakes may be left on the train to

supplement air brakes while descending the rest of the

grade. Avoid leaving hand brakes on any empty cars.

Use of pressure maintaining valves –

The controlling unit of the lead locomotive consist must be

equipped with an operative pressure maintaining feature.

Dynamic brake requirements:

When possible, eastward trains having to add additional

power to the head end of their train in order to comply with

dynamic brake axles requirements to descend a grade must

do so prior to passing Yoder, BF 218.4. If power cannot be

added west of Yoder, the train must be properly secured

while air brake test is performed.

Train handling –

Stretch braking is permitted for Eastward Trains:

Cresting grade at Sand Patch and stopping and starting train

Continuous Movement – As train crests grade, continue to

use power and make a minimum reduction between 20 to 22

MPH. Then gradually reduce throttle and apply dynamic

brake in such a manner to have speed between 25 and 30

MPH, passing BF 208.0.

BF 191.1 to 202.0– Approaching BF 202.0, the grade

becomes less severe and the speed restriction at BF 202.1

is reduced from 35 MPH to 30 MPH. Therefore, watch

deceleration rate very closely, and apply power, if necessary,

to keep speed between 25 and 30 MPH between BF 202.0

and BF 198.0. In the vicinity of BF 197.0, grade again

increases and train speed will generally begin to increase. If

this occurs, it may be necessary to apply dynamic brake or

throttle to Hyndman BF 191.0. Then if conditions permit,

release train brakes and handle the train in accordance with

good train handling procedures.

BF 202.1 to 208.0– In the vicinity of BF 207.0, train speed

will gradually increase due to the heavier grade. When this

occurs, make additional light brake applications, if

necessary, modulating the dynamic brake to hold speed

between 32 and 34 MPH, between BF 206.8 and BF 202.1.

5559 LOADED UNIT TRAINS

Keystone Subdivision 1.0% to 1.5% Grade

Requirements:

Tonnage 20 MPH Min.

EDBA

25 MPH Min.

EDBA

30 MPH Min.

EDBA

16,001 -

17,000

14 17 20

17,001 -

18,000

15 18 20

18,001 -

19,000

16 18 20

Keystone Subdivision 1.151% to 1.75% Grade

Requirements:

Tonnage 20 MPH Min.

EDBA

25 MPH Min.

EDBA

16,001 -19,000 18 20

Eastward trains exceeding 19,001 tons must descend the

grade from Sand Patch, BF 211.0 to Hyndman, BF 190.2 at

speeds not exceeding 15 MPH.

5600 HELPER SERVICE

All trains operating with the helper locomotives on the

Keystone SD will be governed as follows:

Westward: Unless equipped with a "helper link", helper

locomotives assisting westward trains out of Hyndman will

not detach until they are west of Petenbrink Road Crossing,

BF 217.2. If they are "helper link" equipped, they may detach

once they are west of Manila, BF 209.3 If a helper not

equipped with "helper link" must detach on grade, the train

must be properly secured while air brake test is performed.

Eastward: Unless equipped with a "helper link", helper

locomotives assisting eastward trains out of Connellsville will

not detach until they are east of Hyndman BF 190.2. If they

are "helper link" equipped, they will detach at Sand Patch BF

211.0.

Descending heavy grades when helper links are not being

used:

The helper engineer will gradually reduce power as the train

crests the grade. After cresting the grade, the throttle on the

helper will normally be closed during the descent of the

grade. A low throttle position 2 or 3 may be used for a short

distance to control slack. On other than unit trains, a rear or

mid-train helper will not exceed number 1 position while

descending grades.

5655 INCLEMENT WEATHER TRAIN BRAKING

Locations of heavy snow operation on descending grades

averaging in excess of 1.25% or greater for more than 3

miles are listed below. Instruction governing these grades

can be found in Division Special Instructions:

MP Average Grade

BF 191.8 - BF 195.3 1.68%

BF 196.2 - BF 200.5 1.31%

BF 203.1 - BF 209.8 1.47%

Eastward trains will stop and perform required brake

 

inspection at Yoder, BF 218.4.

 

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Saturday, August 05, 2017 11:19 PM

BaltACD
BaltACD wrote the following post 10 hours ago: Keystone Subdivision Special Instructions relating to operations on grades. CSX Baltimore Division Time Table - April 1, 2015

 

Who is responsible for calculating the appropriate power and braking requirements for a specific train and if the engineer, is he given the time and information needed to make them? Or is he told to take what he is given and go? I would like to think that they are knowlegabe of these rules and would be able to apply them but is the climate such that they are afraid to say "NO" to authority? EHH has fired a lot of middle managers that had operating knowledge and if the new hires have no knowledge of the reasons some of those rules exist, I have fears that they may be issuing orders that ignore the rules. As has been said, the rules are written in the blood from past mistakes.

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, August 06, 2017 7:13 AM

Electroliner 1935
 
BaltACD
BaltACD wrote the following post 10 hours ago: Keystone Subdivision Special Instructions relating to operations on grades. CSX Baltimore Division Time Table - April 1, 2015 

Who is responsible for calculating the appropriate power and braking requirements for a specific train and if the engineer, is he given the time and information needed to make them? Or is he told to take what he is given and go? I would like to think that they are knowlegabe of these rules and would be able to apply them but is the climate such that they are afraid to say "NO" to authority? EHH has fired a lot of middle managers that had operating knowledge and if the new hires have no knowledge of the reasons some of those rules exist, I have fears that they may be issuing orders that ignore the rules. As has been said, the rules are written in the blood from past mistakes.

When I was working, it was the crew's responsibility to KNOW their train complied and to notify 'proper authorities' (TM, YM, Train Dispatcher, Chief Train Dispatcher, Director of Transportation Operations) of the fact that the train was not in compliance with the Rules and Special Instructions.  If one of those 'authorities' instructed (in writing or on recorded radio/telephone line) the crew to take the train 'as is' the responsibility then shifted to the person issuing such instructions.

What it is like in the world of EHH - I have no idea. 

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Posted by ruderunner on Thursday, August 10, 2017 11:49 AM

BaltACD

 

 
Electroliner 1935
 
BaltACD
BaltACD wrote the following post 10 hours ago: Keystone Subdivision Special Instructions relating to operations on grades. CSX Baltimore Division Time Table - April 1, 2015 

Who is responsible for calculating the appropriate power and braking requirements for a specific train and if the engineer, is he given the time and information needed to make them? Or is he told to take what he is given and go? I would like to think that they are knowlegabe of these rules and would be able to apply them but is the climate such that they are afraid to say "NO" to authority? EHH has fired a lot of middle managers that had operating knowledge and if the new hires have no knowledge of the reasons some of those rules exist, I have fears that they may be issuing orders that ignore the rules. As has been said, the rules are written in the blood from past mistakes.

 

When I was working, it was the crew's responsibility to KNOW their train complied and to notify 'proper authorities' (TM, YM, Train Dispatcher, Chief Train Dispatcher, Director of Transportation Operations) of the fact that the train was not in compliance with the Rules and Special Instructions.  If one of those 'authorities' instructed (in writing or on recorded radio/telephone line) the crew to take the train 'as is' the responsibility then shifted to the person issuing such instructions.

What it is like in the world of EHH - I have no idea. 

 

Any updates? 

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 1:33 PM

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 2:01 PM

Huh, didn't see that coming.  I'm not familiar with the area but moving a train with that many handbrakes applied is a big no-no pretty much anywhere.  Was this a not unheard of practice in the area?

I see in the report that the car that was derailed was an empty, and other cars had flat spots or other damage from their handbrakes being applied.  It is not surprising that this happened on empties, but had the handbrakes only been applied to loaded cars things may have turned out differently (in my experience loaded cars will not lock up and skid regardless of how tight a handbrake has been applied).

And if the second crew wanted to have additional braking security while descending the grade then why not set retainers?  The conductor would have been walking the train to release the handbrakes anyway. 

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Posted by Euclid on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 2:27 PM

I was wondering about that train handling too.  I wonder if it violated any rules or would be considered to be an acceptable option.  I wonder what the best option would have been.  I guess the second crew must have felt exceptionally wary of taking over with a train that was just previously having air brake problems coming down a steep, long grade; and then had not re-started to prove everything was okay.

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 2:54 PM

It was an empty car with over 16K tons behind it also with the handbrakes still applied on it also.  Anyone want to bet on train makeup being a huge issue on this one.  

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 2:58 PM

Euclid
I was wondering about that train handling too.  I wonder if it violated any rules or would be considered to be an acceptable option.  I wonder what the best option would have been.  I guess the second crew must have felt exceptionally wary of taking over with a train that was just previously having air brake problems coming down a steep, long grade; and then had not re-started to prove everything was okay.

In the territory where the 58 hand brakes were applied you are coming down at grade that approaches 2%.  Once the trainline is charged and the air brakes released only the hand brakes and engine brake are holding the train.  If you release too many hand brakes the weight of the train can overpower the remaing braking power of the train.

Any relative idiot can power a train up a grade.  It takes a real engineer to bring big trains down the grade - SAFELY.  Trains that stop on down grades are particularly tricky to get started and operate under control.  The use of air brake retainers is no longer a practice that is taught.

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Posted by Euclid on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 3:28 PM

Are saying that all trains that stop on such a down grade normally rely on a certain number of set hand brakes to add holding power as the train resumes and completes the descent?

BaltACD
 
Euclid
I was wondering about that train handling too.  I wonder if it violated any rules or would be considered to be an acceptable option.  I wonder what the best option would have been.  I guess the second crew must have felt exceptionally wary of taking over with a train that was just previously having air brake problems coming down a steep, long grade; and then had not re-started to prove everything was okay.

 

In the territory where the 58 hand brakes were applied you are coming down at grade that approaches 2%.  Once the trainline is charged and the air brakes released only the hand brakes and engine brake are holding the train.  If you release too many hand brakes the weight of the train can overpower the remaing braking power of the train.

Any relative idiot can power a train up a grade.  It takes a real engineer to bring big trains down the grade - SAFELY.  Trains that stop on down grades are particularly tricky to get started and operate under control.  The use of air brake retainers is no longer a practice that is taught.

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 3:57 PM

Euclid
Are saying that all trains that stop on such a down grade normally rely on a certain number of set hand brakes to add holding power as the train resumes and completes the descent? 
BaltACD
 
Euclid
I was wondering about that train handling too.  I wonder if it violated any rules or would be considered to be an acceptable option.  I wonder what the best option would have been.  I guess the second crew must have felt exceptionally wary of taking over with a train that was just previously having air brake problems coming down a steep, long grade; and then had not re-started to prove everything was okay. 

In the territory where the 58 hand brakes were applied you are coming down at grade that approaches 2%.  Once the trainline is charged and the air brakes released only the hand brakes and engine brake are holding the train.  If you release too many hand brakes the weight of the train can overpower the remaing braking power of the train.

Any relative idiot can power a train up a grade.  It takes a real engineer to bring big trains down the grade - SAFELY.  Trains that stop on down grades are particularly tricky to get started and operate under control.  The use of air brake retainers is no longer a practice that is taught. 

TTSI require at least 50% hand brakes to be applied before attempting to recharge the trainline.  Personally, I am surprised that the Helper (that I hope was used) to get the train UP Sand Patch didn't stay attached to assist in gettng the train down Sand Patch, with only two engines providing Dynamic Braking on the head end.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 4:35 PM

The 46th car from the front of the train, a 23,467-gallon specification US Department of Transportation (DOT)-111 general service tank car, released its load of elevated temperature asphalt from a bottom outlet valve that opened during the derailment sequence.[1] The released asphalt pooled and solidified near the railcar pileup. 

This has to be hell on the ballast. Cleaning up a wreck like this is tough enough but congealed asphalt, bad stuff. Scrape it up into dump trucks until its down to clean soil, then build new base and bed for new track? 

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