press release, July 31, 201"> press release, July 31, 201" />

7061 East Pleasant Valley Road, Independence, Ohio 44131 • (216) 241-2630 / Fax: (216) 241-6516

News and Issues
User Info

NTSB: Broken rail caused derailment in Ellicott City, Md.

(Source: National Transportation Safety Board press release, July 31, 2014)

WASHINGTON, D.C. The derailment of a CSX coal train on a railroad bridge in Ellicott City, Md., on August 20, 2012 was caused by a broken rail with evidence of rolling contact fatigue, the National Transportation Board said today.

Tragically, two people who were sitting on a CSX bridge were killed when coal spilled out of the rail cars during the derailment, which occurred shortly before midnight in downtown Ellicott City. The presence in the rail right-of-way of the two fatally injured persons, whose unauthorized access placed them in harm's way, did not contribute to the derailment in any way.

Of the 80 cars in the train, the first 21 derailed, with seven falling into a parking lot below the track. The train had been traveling 23 m.p.h. below the speed limit for that section of track.

The NTSB investigation found that the point of derailment was a rail fracture several hundred feet before the bridge. The section of rail, which was examined in the NTSB's materials laboratory in Washington, showed evidence of rolling contact fatigue, a gradual breakdown of the rail-head surface.

As a result of this and earlier accidents investigated by the NTSB, the Federal Railroad Administration established a Rail Failure Working Group to study the effects of rail-head wear and resulting rail surface conditions. Its recommendations were adopted by the Rail Safety Advisory Committee in April.

According to Operation Lifesaver, 476 pedestrian rail trespass fatalities occurred nationwide in 2013. After the Ellicott City derailment, CSX installed a chain-link fence along the right-of-way downtown in an attempt to deter future trespassing on the Ellicott City railroad bridge.

The NTSB will also hold a public forum next year to explore and educate the public about the dangers associated with unauthorized individuals in the railroad right-of-way.

The full accident brief is available at:

Friday, August 01, 2014

Like us on Facebook at

Sign up for BLET News Flash Alerts

© 1997-2016 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen


Decertification Helpline
(216) 694-0240

National Negotiations

Sign up for BLET
News Flash Alerts


NS reports 3Q 2016 results
Cost-cutting offsets drop in revenue as NS posts 3Q 2016 profit
CN revenue falls as freight volumes decline in 3Q 2016
CN reports 3Q 2016 net income of C$972 million, or C$1.25 per diluted share
NS declares quarterly dividend
Lawmakers still demanding answers from NJ Transit following fatal accident
CSX, CP fail to submit required bridge inspection records in New York
Ex-employee goes on deadly rampage at FreightCar America in Roanoke
Allegiant flight dispatchers vote to join Teamsters
Crews clean up chemical spill after UP derailment near Superior
Gov. Cuomo offers $1 million for Buffalo train station study
Hoosier State ridership, revenue soared in September
Railroad retiree earnings limits to rise in 2017
Railroad Retirement benefits will increase in 2017
Get the latest labor news from the Teamsters

More Headlines