According to the head investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, the actual count of cars that derailed in Wednesday's incident in Lynchburg was 17 instead of the preliminary report of 14.
Restoration efforts are continuing after Wednesday's train derailment. Wreckage is not expected to be cleared before the end of the day.
The derailment caused a large and intense fire, causing part of downtown Lynchburg to be evacuated.
According to the head investigator, of the three remaining rail cars that must be removed, one car breached (the one on fire), and the other two are full loads.
After viewing the front end camera on the locomotive, they’re beginning to document what they see on the video. They’ve seen nothing very remarkable at this point.
When the train derailed it was traveling at a speed of 24 miles per hour. The speed limit is 25 miles per hour, so speed is not thought to be a factor.
All but two of the derailed cars are ready for removal from the site, according to a news release from CSX.
Removal preparations include what CSX describes as “extensive efforts to minimize any environmental impact.”
Extensive work has been done to inspect the rail cars. No difficulties, anomalies or problems have been detected so far with the equipment and cars.
The investigator also says they don’t see anything in the way the crew handled the train that might have contributed to the accident at this point.
The investigator also has not seen anything at this point on the cars involved in pileup, though the investigation is continuing. There are marks on the wheel sets that show where they’ve gone over the rail.
Crews are doing a rail rebuild to sift through and find all pieces of rail that they can find. This means they’re working to figure out how they go together, like a jigsaw puzzle.
Part of the delay is caused by the difficulty in moving some of the equipment, particularly the 3 rail cars that went over. Stability on the riverbank isn’t great for heavy equipment. There is a possibility that they’ll have to offload the product to help reduce weight during removal efforts. Things are moving slowly due to safety considerations.
No problems or anomalies were found with the signal system, either.
Investigators are downloading recordings from signal system/signal bungalows, as well as conversations between dispatcher and railroad crews to aide in the investigation.
No problems have been seen from a mechanical or operations standpoint at this point.
In addressing area business owners’ concerns, the investigator could not give a timetable for reopen. However he did say that the area directly across from the accident site is very dangerous and can cause a lot of problems, particularly with trucks coming in and out.
The structural integrity of the riverbank is being investigated, not only at the accident site but at nearby locations.
The road bed and railway is being rebuilt. Debris removal and excavation of the road bed are under way, in addition to preliminary work to re-lay the track.
Here’s the full release from CSX distributed Friday afternoon:
CSX Continues Site Restoration Efforts at Lynchburg
CSX continued efforts overnight and through the day on Friday, May 2, to restore the site affected by a freight-train derailment that occurred April 30 in Lynchburg, Va. All but two of the derailed cars have been positioned for removal from the site. Preparations continue for the safe removal of the remaining two cars, in coordination with onsite safety, investigative and first-responder organizations. Preparations include extensive efforts to minimize any environmental impact.
CSX also is in the process of rebuilding the road bed and railway, with debris removal, excavation of the road bed and preliminary work to re-lay the track underway. Additionally, CSX, in coordination with federal, state, and local environmental authorities, continues its comprehensive environmental assessment and protection effort, which includes land-, air- and water-based assessments of potential impacts from the derailment.
Resources available to anyone who needs information or assistance related to the derailment include 1-877-TELL CSX (1-877-835-5279), the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (434-442-4642) and the CSX Community Outreach Center at the Wingate Hotel, 3777 Candlers Mountain Road. The community-outreach center will close at 4 p.m. Friday, May 2.