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Feds say speed not factor in W.Va. derailment

Register-Herald photo courtesy of Governor's Office Fires continued to smolder Thursday at the derailment site in Fayette County.
Register-Herald photo courtesy of Governor’s Office
Fires continued to smolder Thursday at the derailment site in Fayette County.

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Federal investigators still don’t know what caused a CSX train carrying crude oil from the Bakken oilfields to derail Monday, but speed wasn’t a factor, confirmed Federal Railroad Administration spokesman Kevin Thompson.

Thompson said the 109-car train was traveling 33 miles per hour en route to a refinery in Lynchburg, Va., in a 50-mph speed zone when it derailed near Mount Carbon, according to the train’s event recorder.

 Nothing “remarkable”  on the event recorder points to a possible cause, but the data may become useful to the investigation as it progresses, he said.

Thompson said the Federal Railroad Administration doesn’t have a lead on the cause of the derailment, and won’t likely delve deeper into an investigation until the site is no longer an emergency response scene.

“At this hour there are still small fires smoldering, very contained, but that has prevented our team from having full access to the site,” he said.

Some investigators are beginning survey work, but once all the fires are out, the physical evidence, including broken railroad ties and rail cars, will be moved to another location where the scene will be reconstructed.

Once reconstructed, the team will attempt to discern a cause by methodically eliminating possibilities…


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