It seems like the train that caught fire in Virginia was conveying new car models. It was initially believed that the fire started because the tank cars belonged to an older series which was known for its high risk of getting pierced.
CSX Corp., the company which owns the train, reported that all the 109 car trains were CPC 1232 models. These newer car versions are believed to be more resistant than the older 2011 DOT-111 cars which have been criticized by regulatory agencies and operators for some years now. The issue with these older models had arisen due to the high number of fire accident these cars were involved in. U.S and Canadian authorities are now trying to eliminate the 2011 models from usage.
On Monday Feb. 17, the CSX train was on its way to Yorktown, Virginia. It was carrying crude oil from North Dakota. The train did not reach its destination as it derailed in a small tow located 33 miles (or 54 km) southeast of Charleston. This accident resulted in about 10 of the CPC 1232 models to ignite and one to roll over and fall into the close by Kanawha River.
There were unfortunately no mortal accidents. There was some damage however, with one house being destroyed and two towns needing to evacuate for safety measures. The flames continued to burn until later that day as the cars were let to burn themselves out.
This incident took place only three days after a similar event took place. On Feb. 14, an oil train belonging to the Canadian National Railways was transporting oil from Alberta. The train derailed in a forested area in the north of Ontario. Out of the 100 cars, 29 derailed, 7 of which ignited. There were no victims reported.
This is also the CSX’s second train accident. The first incident took place in Lynchburg, Virginia when another train heading for the oil depots of Plains All American Pipelines in Yorktown, Virginia derailed.
The shipment of oils via rail has grown in the last years, but so has the number of derailments in North America.
Image Source: NY Daily News