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Railroad Accident Report
Derailment of CSX Freight Train Q316 and
Subsequent Hazardous Material Release
at Cox Landing, West Virginia
June 20, 1998

NTSB Number RAR-99/01
NTIS Number PB99-916301
PDF Document (613K)

Abstract: About 12:37 p.m. eastern daylight time on Saturday, June 20, 1998, 30 of the 148 cars making up eastbound CSX Transportation, Inc., (CSX) train Q316 derailed at Cox Landing, West Virginia. Of the derailed cars, three were loaded with hazardous material, and eight others contained hazardous material residue. Two of the loaded cars were damaged in the pileup and leaked a combined volume of about 21,500 gallons of formaldehyde solution. No one was injured during the derailment of the train; however, 15 persons reported minor injuries as a result of the release of formaldehyde. Total damages in the accident exceeded $2.6 million.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this derailment was an unstable roadbed that resulted from the inadequate or ineffective measures taken by CSX Transportation, Inc., to permanently correct known drainage problems in the accident area.

The major safety issues identified in this investigation were the track and roadbed conditions on the CSX’s Ohio River Subdivision, the effectiveness of Cabell County’s emergency response procedures, the effective use of available hazardous materials information, and the coordination of safety-critical operations during wreckage-clearing operations.

As a result of its investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board makes safety recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration, to CSX Transportation, Inc., to Cabell and Wayne Counties’ Local Emergency Planning Committee, and to Mountaineer Gas Company.