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

1370 Ontario St. - Mezzanine, Cleveland, Ohio 44113 • (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

© 1997-2015 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen


Decertification Helpline
(216) 694-0240

National Negotiations

Sign up for BLET
News Flash Alerts


Get the latest labor news: Read the Teamster Nation blog
CP Rail still waiting on response from NS
TSA, Amtrak taking security measures ahead of holiday weekend
Amtrak ramps up service for holiday travel
Report: New Jersey cant afford its share of Hudson rail tunnel
Train riders should pay extra to fund Gateway Tunnel, Moodys says
Opinion: Hudson River rail tunnel agreement offers hope for the future
What will the Northeast Corridor look like in the year 2040?
Chicago Teamsters bring unfair labor practices suit against Coca-Cola
Plan for major terminal would boost oil train traffic across Washington state
BNSF completes landslide prevention walls near Everett, Wash.
Metra unveils new winterizing tools to protect track switches
How railroad history shaped Internet history
First annual National Lionel Train Day is December 5
CSXs Santa Train completes its 73rd run
The importance of a current connection for Railroad Retirement benefits

More Headlines