Oil Tanker Derails in VA

Thursday, May 1, 2014 @ 10:05 AM gHale

A CSX train hauling oil derailed near downtown Lynchburg, VA, at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, prompting evacuations and calls to avoid part of the city as flames and a plume of black smoke rose into the air. There are no immediate reports of injuries.

The train was carrying crude oil and three or four of its 13 to 14 cars were leaking oil, city officials said.

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“There is some spillage in the river of crude oil,” Lynchburg city spokeswoman LuAnn Hunt said. Richmond primarily draws its water from the James River, downstream from Lynchburg. Another official said the city is making plans to tap an “alternative water supply.”

The rail cars used in Virginia, pill-shaped cars known as DOT-111s, have been part of some oil train derailments in North Dakota and Quebec.

“We are very clear that this issue needs to be acted on very quickly,” National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman said last week. The Transportation Department is currently working on stricter standards for rail tank cars used to transport hazardous materials. “They aren’t moving fast enough,” Hersman said.

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