CSX ethanol train derails in eastern Kentucky

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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Transport Canada has increased the speed limit for trains carrying hazardous materials, effective April 1
David C. Lester

The Lexington Herald Leader reports that a CSX ethanol train derailed into the Big Sandy River yesterday morning in eastern Kentucky because a rock slide blocked the tracks on which the train was traveling. The derailment occurred in Draffin, in Pike County, which is around 160 miles southeast of Lexington. While the train contained 96 cars loaded with ethanol, officials were unsure of how many cars derailed, but some caught on fire. In addition, some of the ethanol leaked into the river.

No one was seriously injured in the derailment, but two CSX train crew members were briefly trapped in a locomotive, but were able to climb out and were rescued by authorities. Officials decided to let the fire burn out, since it did not threaten public safety.

The Big Sandy River is part of the Mountain Water District, and the Russell Fork of the river was closed until testing of the water can be done. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said “As we monitor this situation, our top priority is the health of families  who rely on the Mountain Water District, and I appreciate the Emergency Response Team’s swift action.”

Eastern Kentucky has been subjected to heavy rainfall over the past couple of weeks, which created conditions that led to the slide, which the Kentucky State Police said was large.

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