New Details In Paulsboro Train Derailment [VIDEO]
The National Transportation Safety Board says the train that derailed in Paulsboro on Friday was traveling at a safe speed and was given clearance to cross the bridge by a dispatcher before collapsing into Mantua Creek.
Chairman Deborah Hersman said the train approached the bridge at 7AM on Friday morning and was greeted by a red light. When the engineer tried to key in a request for a green light to cross, the light did not change.
The conductor got out and did a visual inspection and saw no problems with the bridge. A dispatched was called who gave verbal permission to cross.
The train’s two locomotives successfully crossed at a speed of 8MPH before the bridge collapsed. Afterwards, the locomotive was moved away from the scene to a rail yard. The NTSB’s inspection has not turned up any defects with the locomotive and they have downloaded records from the on board computer
7 Cars In The Water
Hersman said the train left Camden at 3AM Friday morning bound for Carney’s Point with 68 loaded cars and 14 empty cars for a length of 4915 feet with an engineer and conductor on board.
Cars in the first 7 positions after the locomotive derailed. One car carried plastic pellets and another a load of lumber and are both still on the bridge.
A tanker hauling ethanol is in the water but did not suffer a breach. 3 tanker cars carrying vinyl chloride are also in the water; one of those tankers was breached and released 23-25,000 pounds of chemical. Two more cars are on the bridge coupled together.
The engineer and conductor have both given written statements and will be interviewed today by NTSB investigators along with the dispatcher. The NTSB say an average of 20 trains cross the bridge daily and they want to talk to the crews of trains that had crossed the bridge earlier in the day.
State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D), who represents Paulsboro, told New Jersey 101.5 on Friday that residents said they had been hearing “noises they had not heard before” and Conrail crews had been investigating.
Conrail has been asked to provide maintenance records on the bridge. The NTSB is also looking at records from a 2009 accident on the bridge. Investigators will also consider what effect superstorm Sandy had on the storm.
Investigators have not yet been to the actual scene of the derailment.