Baltimore, Maryland: NTSB issues Preliminary report

13 Jun

NTSB investigators examine the damaged truck. Source NTSB

NTSB investigators examine the damaged truck. Source NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a preliminary report arising from its investigation of the collision of a train and truck in Glendale, Maryland, on May 28th, 2013. As with all NTSB preliminary reports, the Board points out that information contained therein as the investigation proceeds to a conclusion at a later date.

The 68th Street passive level crossing at which the accident occurred was marked with cross-buck signs and “non-standard” stop signs (yellow). The paint on both stop signs had faded significantly, and both had been displaced from their original mountings. The stop sign that should have been regulating traffic moving northbound hung upside down facing away from the roadway. The driver did not stop at the level crossing and attempted to cross both tracks.

As the truck moved into the crossing, a CSX freight train traveling westbound at 49 miles per hour, struck the truck on the right side in the area of the rear axle. The train consisted of two locomotives, 15 empty cars, and 30 loaded cars, four of which contained hazardous materials, including sodium chlorate. The impact caused the first 15 cars of the train to derail. The seventh car—loaded with sodium chlorate—and the ninth through twelfth cars—loaded with terephthalic acid—released their products. Following the derailment, a post-crash fire ensued, which resulted in a subsequent explosion. The overpressure blast from the explosion shattered windows and damaged siding on buildings as far as one mile away. The fire remained confined to the derailed rail cars.

As a result of the collision, the driver of the roll-off truck received serious injuries and was transported to an area hospital for treatment. The explosion and fire caused minor injuries to a police officer who responded to the initial incident and two individuals working at a building adjacent to the railway; a third worker received serious injuries.

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