Tag Archives: Philadelphia derailment

Another derailment – Philadelphia again, hazmat, no spill, major road closing

Repost from NBCPhiladelphia.com

Train Hauling Chemicals Derails, Blocks Major Road for Hours

By NBC10 Staff | Thursday, Apr 10, 2014
A Conrail train jumped a track in the Port Richmond section of the city. NBC10's Daralene Jones has the details on the investigation.NBC10.com – Daralene Jones – A Conrail train jumped a track in the Port Richmond section of the city.

A freight train hauling hazardous materials derailed this morning at a Philadelphia signal crossing causing a major road to be closed for hours.

Two rail cars went off the tracks blocking Aramingo Avenue between Castor Avenue and E Butler Street in the Port Richmond section of the city around 3:15 a.m.

The derailed cars remained blocking the road for hours before they were lifted out of place, the track was repaired and the road was reopened.

The rail crossing in the industrial/commercial area flashed and bells rang for some time as the derailed nine-car freight train remained in the middle of the road near a ShopRite store for hours.

There were no injuries and luckily none of the tanker cars overturned or leaked.

A Conrail spokesman said that it appeared that the tanker cars jumped the rail and landed in the mud after the actual rail cracked. NBC10 cameras captured the cracked rail.

The spokesman said that the tanker cars were hauling flammable liquids including acetone in two cars and phenol in the rest. Acetone is a common industrial solvent that is harmful if swallowed or inhaled.

Conrail said nothing leaked during the accident and there was no immediate threat to neighbors in the area.

Motorists were urged to avoid the area if at all possible as the cleanup continued.

NBC10’s Jillian Mele suggested taking Frankford Avenue or Richmond Street to avoid Aramingo Avenue. She warned however to expect heavier volume on nearby roads.

The seven cars that remained on the tracks were detached from the derailed cars around 6 a.m. It isn’t clear when the remaining derailed cars will be cleared. Heavy equipment was brought in to remove the cars.

The rail cars were removed just before 9 a.m. but the road remained closed as crews worked to repair the track. About 30 minutes later the road reopened to traffic.

Conrail crews remained on the scene investigating and making further repairs.

The track was inspected within the last month, a federal requirement.

Conrail is owned by Norfolk Southern and CSX, the railroad company that was under scrutiny last month by city council for its safety and maintenance practices.

“We’re going to make sure they are focusing on investing in their infrastructure to make sure incidents don’t take place in the future,” said Philadelphia city councilman Kenyatta Johnson. “It starts with leadership and although we don’t have regulation over our railways, that’s not a reason for us to not get involved.”

Another recent train derailment in Philadelphia prompted Johnson to hold hearings about railroad safety in which officials with CSX testified.

“We have to call them out, through our hearings,” Johnson said. “If you’re going to do business here in the city of Philadelphia you should be held accountable.”

The Federal Railroad Administration provided NBC10 reports which showed that Conrail was involved in 17 accidents last year, a 55% increase over 2012. The data also shows eight accidents caused by tracks and 14 total derailments, up 39% from 2012.


Photos and Videos – Train Derails While Carrying Chemicals 
A train derails on Aramingo Avenue causing a road block. The train was carrying flammable chemicals and appeared to derail after hitting a crack in the track.

Yet another derailment – in central Philadelphia

Repost from Philadelphia-based Protecting Our Waters.  Pay close attention to paragraph 2 … “Unlike in previous U.S. explosions, this is a densely-populated area…in close proximity to large institutions, among them Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania medical complex, including Children’s Hospital; and the University of Pennsylvania.”

A Near Miss from Disaster: Oil Train Derails in Philadelphia

January 20, 2014


Bakken Shale oil train derailed over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia on January 20th, 2014. Photo: NBC Chicago/SkyForce

Philadelphia’s wake-up call is here. A few months ago, Protecting Our Waters started warning people about the dangers of the fracked oil trains coming to Philadelphia from the Bakken Shale formation out west. We’ve reported on multiple oil train explosions and derailments across North America, one of which, in Lac Megantic, Canada killed 47 people. As of this morning, the threat of an accident here in Philadelphia is no longer hypothetical.

Just after 1 a.m. this morning, seven cars of a 101-car CSX train from Chicago derailed on the Schuylkill Arsenal Railroad bridge over the Schuylkill River. Six were carrying crude oil, and one was carrying sand. ABC 6 Action News and Fox Philadelphia have short videos on the derailment, although the AP story they include incorrectly states that the accident occurred around 1 p.m. The bridge runs just south of the South Street Bridge from University City to Grays Ferry. It also runs over the heavily-trafficked Schuylkill Expressway, which was shut for two hours following the derailment. Unlike in previous U.S. explosions, this is a densely-populated area. It’s also in close proximity to large institutions, among them Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania medical complex, including Children’s Hospital; and the University of Pennsylvania.

The Schuylkill Arsenal Bridge over the University of Pennsylvania's fields, the Schuylkill Expressway, and the Schuylkill River. From Google Maps

As the trains were carrying oil from out west and following a route we know that the Bakken oil trains take on their way to the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in South Philadelphia, it’s a safe bet that these were the same trains that have derailed and exploded four times in the last eight months and whose construction and contents are becoming notorious for their safety hazards. Of course, it doesn’t help that the trains were crossing a 100-year-old bridge that now sees two mile-long oil trains each day. Fortunately, none of the cars fell off the bridge, nor have authorities found any leaks. News photos show the cars almost dangling from the narrow two-track bridge, precariously close to falling into the river. As of 9 a.m. this morning, they were still there.

As with pipeline explosions and leaks, it seems like oil train derailments and explosions are becoming business as usual. Also as usual, authorities aren’t sure what may have caused the train to derail. That’s a question that needs to be answered before any more of these trains run. Will it be? That’s partly up to us– and to you.

So Philadelphians, or anyone else living in the path of these “bomb trains”: write and call your elected officials and ask them if they have an evacuation plan for if disaster occurs. Urge them to make sure the trains are stopped to ensure residents’ safety; join our regional letter-writing campaign (contact powinquiries@gmail for fact sheets and more information), and tell your neighbors about the threat chugging right through our backyards.