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Massive fire after Lynchburg, Va., train derailment

Massive Fire After Lynchburg, Va., Train Derailment

A massive fire and plumes of black smoke over downtown Lynchburg, Virginia, as a freight train carrying thousands of gallons of crude oil jumped the tracks Wednesday.

NBC reports,"Several buildings were evacuated after the train burst into flames in downtown Lynchburg."

WDBJ says, "You just saw it going sideways on two wheels, and then one went down, and then the train just kept coming, and just a dog pile on top of that."

According to a city spokeswoman, between 12 and 14 cars jumped the tracks in total - dumping around 50,000 gallons of oil. Some of those cars ended up in the nearby James River.

One witness told Lynchburg's WSET, "You could actually hear the water boiling under whatever the fuel source was. Sounded like a huge, unbelievably large, deep fryer."

As ABC reports, flames from the fire reached as high 80 feet above the ground, with smoke visible from around the city.

Firefighters reportedly let the fire burn out on its own, and some officials are now considering the city lucky, as thus far there have been no reports of injuries.

Quoted by The Washington Post, Lynchburg's deputy city manager said, "We are very fortunate that the cars that derailed derailed toward the river, instead of toward the city." She added that no buildings caught fire due to the wreck.

WAVY reports officials are now working to determine the environmental impact of the wreck and subsequent oil spill. The cause of the derailment is currently unknown.

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toothii May 02 2014 at 9:38 AM

THis is why the Keystone Pipeline needs to be done!! The environmetalists concerns over a pipeline is a red herring. They ought to be focused on the 1000's of oil tanker cars going thru urban areas! But we all know it's not really about the environment at all. It's politics and money from lobbyists!

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jhntd727 May 01 2014 at 9:55 PM

OK, this may be a simplistic look at things, but I play (notice the word "Play") the train simulator, and I just don't understand how one could cause a train to derail!!??
Either the engineer was going too fast
The track was in disrepair!!
My vote is that the track was in disrepair.
I have been on foot at grade crossings when a train passes, and in some spots the track seems to dip 2 to 3 inches as wheels (trucks) pass the spots!! If those spots are not taken care of eventually a derailment will occur! Because those spots do not get better by themselves, they only get worse.

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2 replies
molly2peaches jhntd727 May 02 2014 at 12:21 AM

The pictures are quit clear. The river undercut the bank right up to and maybe under the tracks. As you point out, the spot forces of passing wheels put a lot of force on the ground underneath. In this case, a sodden steep bank of soil.

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MITCHELL jhntd727 May 02 2014 at 2:40 AM

Wheels, Bearings, broken rail, sticking brake cylinders. There's a start. Road Locomotives weigh 220 tons, a piece. Unless a specialized car, with many extra axles, the Max. weight is 143 tons. THE TRACK LAYS ON TIES, WHICH REST ON BALLAST (GRAVEL), ON TOP OF SOIL...ANYWHERE IT'S GONNA DIP A COUPLE INCHES, UNLESS YOU'RE ON A BRIDGE / TRUSSEL, THAT IS A SOLID STRUCTURE. DON'T WORRY. sorry about the caps, hit caps accidently

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Jack and Jackie May 01 2014 at 10:14 PM

why no refineries being allowed to be built near the source of one of the largest oil fields in America ? ask your congress person.

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dlclay827 May 01 2014 at 10:44 PM

One item to keep in mind - we've had a lot of rain here recently; the rail bed may have been compromised. Hopefully the report on the derailment will tell us the cause - one thing about the trains that come through Lynchburg, they go slowly....

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1 reply
MITCHELL dlclay827 May 02 2014 at 2:30 AM

The Line I work, They Inspect the Tracks All the fricken time ! I say that because, we have to wait, delays us. Seems like way too often ! I work on the West Coast. They maintain our Tracks very good. Again...Crude Oil, is not what concerns me about whats in my Train, or what's coming by me...There are much more lethal commmodities transported than Oil.

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Mike May 01 2014 at 10:55 PM

Those pipelines sounding better now?

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3 replies
tbplayer44 May 01 2014 at 11:19 PM

This is why we need the Keystone XL and other pipelines. Study after Study has proven them safe, but Political Agendas force us to transport by rail and truck what can more safely go by pipe. This isnt a 'body blow' against Fossil Fuels... this is a 'biotch slap' in the face to Progressive Liberalism.

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4 replies
rgriffing May 01 2014 at 11:36 PM

Was that one of W Buffett's (Obama's pal and tax baiter) trains. One of the reasons why there is no piipeline - Buffett's trains get to haul the oil.

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1 reply
MITCHELL rgriffing May 02 2014 at 2:17 AM

That's the BNSF (Buffet), This was the CSXS, All Railroads haul Crude, even some shortlines.

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Brian Workman May 01 2014 at 11:45 PM

Obama!! Wake Up!! Think Keystone Pipe Line!! How many train rail crashes, have to happen, before you forget about the money!? The money that you got from the Lobbyist behind your close doors, in your non transparency in Government stand?!?!

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3 replies
molly2peaches May 01 2014 at 11:59 PM

Bets if that was a passenger line it wouldn't have been allowed to become eroded by the river with nothing being done. And I'd lay heavy odds at least one engineer reported that situation over a year ago. Nothing gets sodden ground undercut by a swollen river to give way like a train of 200,000 lb railcars. The photos are absolutely clear, yet it's "being investigated." What's being investigated is who is liable. Gonna be CSX.

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freeenquirer May 02 2014 at 7:12 AM

" Drill baby, Drill "

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