Train Derailment Preliminary Report Released
Little new information is revealed in this first account of the accident.
The train that derailed in Ellicott City on Aug. 20 was traveling the speed limit on a calm, mild evening, according to a preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Besides suggesting weather and speed were not causes for the derailment, there is not much new information in the report, released Wednesday morning. It does not specify any potential causes for the derailment and it may still be revised as the investigation continues.
But the NTSB report does create a somewhat more complete picture of what happened on that night, when a freight train derailed over Ellicott City's Main Street, killing two 19-year-old women.
The report is the result of NTSB reviews of track maintenance records, rail samples and railroad equipment.
According to the report, at about 11:56 p.m., an 80-car CSX train carrying coal was traveling eastbound on the Old Main Line Subdivision.
According to the event recorder, the train was traveling 25 mph in a 25 mph zone when the first 21 cars derailed at milepost 12.9 on the CSX Old Main Line Subdivision, just at the west-bound edge of the Main Street Bridge.
Six of those cars – and their coal -- fell off the tracks, about 15 feet down into parking lot B, according to the report. Other cars overturned as well, and spilled coal along the tracks.
“Two people that were sitting on the north side of the railroad bridge at the time of the derailment sustained fatal injuries,” the report read. “No other injuries were reported and there was no evacuation.”