National Transportation Safety Board does a slow through job of investigation accidents. In the case of Norfolk Southern accident in Ohio, the cause of the accident was so plain to engineers, that they issued a preliminary report and provided a hearing on the accident.
NTSB spokesperson Jennifer Homendy stated during a press conference that this derailment was 100% preventable, and the cause was an overheated wheel bearing. She said:
“We call things accidents. There is no accident. Every single event that we investigate is preventable,” she said. “So our hearts are with you know, that the NTSB has one goal and that is safety and ensuring that this never happens again.”
My last post was about how politicians duck important questions to peddle their own agenda. NTSB is just the opposite and I really like this agency. I also give high marks to the EPA who were onsite hours after the accident.
National Public Radio reports on the spill of vinyl chorides:
“There were no reported fatalities or injuries caused directly by the derailment, and responders were able to mitigate the fire within two days. But rising temperatures in one tank car carrying vinyl chloride — a toxic chemical that grows especially volatile at high temperatures — prompted concerns of an uncontrolled explosion. To prevent that, responders evacuated residents of the immediate area and performed a “release and burn” of five tank cars’ worth of the chemical, some 115,580 gallons.”
The plastic placards marking cars with hazardous materials have also been identified as an area of concern by both Buttigieg and NTSB officials. The fire following the derailment melted the plastic placards, making it difficult for first responders to discern which trains contained dangerous chemicals.”
Link Fox News: NTSB calls Ohio train derailment ‘100% preventable,’ says operators were warned of overheated axle
The overheating warning came too late for the train to safely stop. In the preliminary report, NTSB finds no fault of the operator. The heat sensors probably need to be placed closer together. The increases in temperature of wheel bearings instead of just the temperature estimates should also trigger warnings.
There is also the accusation from Democrats that a rollback in regulations during the Trump administration, could have prevented this accident. The NTSB stated that this is not true as follows:
“The ECP braking rule would’ve applied ONLY to HIGH HAZARD FLAMMABLE TRAINS. The train that derailed in East Palestine was a MIXED FREIGHT TRAIN containing only 3 placarded Class 3 flammable liquids cars.”
Nice. NTSB is just stating facts. But, the Department of Transportation is likely to make stricter regulations on this more dangerous trains.
There is a lot more work to be done, by the various federal agencies. Many local water wells need to be tested. Norfolk Southern is cooperating and working with residents to test their water. I like the fact that the various agencies are staffed by professional career specialists who do not descend into the political fray.