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CSX says faulty maintenance work caused Philadelphia oil train derailment

A CSX unit train delivers a load of crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to a refinery in South Philadelphia. There has been a recent surge in oil shipments by rail across the country.

NAT HAMILTON/WHYY NEWS

A CSX unit train delivers a load of crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to a refinery in South Philadelphia.

CSX says faulty maintenance work is to blame for a derailment that left six tanker cars of crude oil leaning on a bridge in downtown Philadelphia in January.

The railroad’s internal investigation has found that crews upgrading the tracks did not properly attach temporary fasteners to the railroad ties, the company said in a statement. Following the derailment, CSX says it conducted a safety review for personnel who work maintaining and upgrading tracks.

The derailment occurred on the Schuylkill Arsenal Bridge, which spans the Schuylkill River and a busy stretch of Route 76. CSX says investigators found the bridge is structurally sound. The Federal Railroad Administration will review the railroad’s findings.

The tanker cars did not leak and there were no injuries reported. It was a minor incident compared to other accidents involving crude oil trains in the last year as production in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale reaches a million barrels a day. The federal government is cracking down on crude oil shippers to make the transport of domestic oil safer and railroads have agreed to make voluntary changes, like slowing down trains near populous areas.

The Pennsylvania House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee will hold a hearing next Wednesday, March 5 on the safety of crude-by-rail. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Eddystone, Delaware County.

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