Erratum: The High Temperature Bearing of a Norfolk Southern Train 32N was Derailed at 9pm on Friday, April 23rd
The crew was instructed to slow down and stop the train when the one wheel bearing temperature reached a critical level.
Officials said that the bearing was compromised so much when an alarm went off that it failed as the train was still coming to a stop.
Roller bearings don’t work. “But it’s critical for problems to be identified and addressed early so these aren’t run until failure,” said the Chair at a Thursday press conference.
The train video showed what looked to be a overheated wheel bearing, according to the report. Footage showed sparks flying from underneath the train.
Norfolk Southern train 32N, a 149-car, 9000-foot long train, derailed just before 9 pm on Friday in East Palestine.
The third and final detector, located 19 miles later just east of East Palestine, recorded such a high temperature — 253 degrees Fahrenheit above ambient temperature — that the train’s crew was alerted to stop the train and inspect the bearing in accordance with Norfolk Southern safety guidelines, the NTSB report said.
The report stated that the vehicle’s temperature inside was still rising and could have resulted in an explosion. The vinyl chloride was burned off three days after the accident to prevent a potentially fatal blast.
An Investigation of a Train Accident in East Palestine, Ohio, by The Norfolk Southern Railroad Defect Detectors and Public Safety Programs
Norfolk Southern’s defect detectors are built along railroad lines and collect data on signals and defects when trains pass by.
Three such sensors, also called hot-box detectors, were located along 30 miles of track near East Palestine. The temperatures were recorded in the wheel bearing.
Shaw said that the company has already implemented new internal safety measures and plans to review the results of the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation.
The train’s movements at the time of the accident appeared to have followed safety procedures, investigators said. It was traveling at 47 miles per hour, just under the maximum speed limit of 50 miles per hour. Positive train control, an automated safety system, was enabled and operational.
The incident has prompted the Department of Transportation to consider new safety regulations, said Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Thursday during a visit to East Palestine.
From company to company there are differences in how railroad and railroad companies are used. I think that’s another example of something that should be looked at to try to prevent something like that from happening again,” Buttigieg said.
The plastic placards marking cars with hazardous materials have also been identified as an area of concern by both Buttigieg and NTSB officials. The plastic placards melted as a result of the fire, making it hard for first responders to tell which trains contained dangerous chemicals.
The evacuation order was lifted on Feb. 8, five days after the derailment. Since then, residents have reported widespread concern about the safety of East Palestine’s air and water. Some people say they have had headaches. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources reported that some 3,500 fish had died following the derailment in nearby waterways.
After federal officials released an initial report concluding that this month’s toxic train wreck in Ohio was completely preventable, investigators will begin examining procedures, practices and design prior to the derailment that has sparked long-term concerns among hundreds of frustrated residents.
The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the investigation of a train crash in East Palestine, Ohio, where residents have been complaining about feeling sick after seeing chemicals in the air, water and soil.
“This was 100% preventable. … There is no accident. Every single event that we investigate is preventable,” Homendy said during a news conference Thursday. The goal of the National Transportation Safety Board is safety and making sure that this doesn’t happen again.
The investigators will look into the train operator’s use of wayside defect detectors and railcar inspection practices. The investigation will be dependent on determining what caused the wheel bearing failure.
The investigation will focus on the response to the chemical disaster, particularly the detonation of tanks carrying toxic chemicals.
Health Effects of the East Palestine Train Derailment: A Redefinition of a Long-Lived, Burning, Ill-Behaved, Anomalous, Fragile Community
Some residents of East Palestine have said they are having headaches, dizziness, nausea, and bloody noses, all of which they didn’t previously have.
Homendy said on Thursday that there were three people on board the train, three employees in the locomotive and one person in the conductor’s seat.
“We are very deliberative. Homendy said that we are the gold standard when it comes to investigations across the globe. We will not hesitate to issue an urgent safety recommendation if we see a serious safety issue.
“EPA has special authority for situations just like this where we can compel companies who inflict trauma and cause environmental and health damage to communities, like Norfolk Southern has done, to completely clean up the mess that they’ve caused and pay for it,” EPA administrator Michael Regan said.
The company plans to take a series of measures moving forward to minimize the long-term impacts of chemicals on the land and groundwater, including ripping up the tracks where the train derailed and removing soil underneath, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw said.
The residents were frustrated by the intense exchanges and felt that officials dodged their questions, compounding their distrust in the process.
Jim Stewart, a lifelong 65-year-old East Palestine resident who said he lives near where the crash happened, told Shaw he feels his health has been threatened by the derailment.
“Did you shorten my life now? I want to enjoy my retirement. How are we going to enjoy it? You burned me,” Stewart said, addressing Shaw. “You’ve made me an angry man.”
Shaw said that he was forbidden from talking about the investigation after he refused to answer repeated questions about what happened.
Investing in the long term health of the community, I’m going to work with the community leaders to improve the clean up and reimburse the citizens
We are going to invest in the long term health of the community, we will get the clean up right, and we will reimburse the citizens. We will be here and I will see this through. The community leaders will work with us to help you thrive.