CSX promises aggressive action in wake of inspections
CSX Corp. will move promptly and aggressively to address safety concerns raised in an inspection report released by the U.S. Federal Railway Administration last week, said Michael Ward, CSX chairman and chief executive officer.
“Safety is our top priority, and we welcome the FRA’s inspections and insights,” Ward said. “We are committed to working closely with FRA on all safety issues.”
Last week the FRA released a report on a 23-state inspection of CSX railroad tracks and procedures following several recent train derailments, including a March 12 accident in Oneida, N.Y., in which several cars carrying liquid propane caught fire and exploded.
New York politicians, including Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chuck Schumer issued statements of concern about problems uncovered during the inspections.
Clinton said she was concerned that the recent FRA inspection raised questions about the condition on non-CSX track as well as CSX track, and asked the FRA administrator to undertake a full investigation into all of New York’s railroad tracks.
According to Clinton’s office more than 3,000 problems and violations were discovered during the course of the investigation with 60 of the 583 inspections taking place in New York. The report found 376 defects, including 13 violations along CSX track in New York. Following the train derailment earlier this month in Oneida, Clinton wrote a letter to Administrator Joseph Boardman expressing the need for a statewide investigation.
CSX Transportation, CSX's rail operating unit, said it “promptly took corrective action' on the defects identified in the FRA focused inspection in January, many of them before the inspection concluded. In addition to several initiatives under way in New York State, CSXT also plans to tighten standards for geometry car track inspections to exceed FRA thresholds. The track geometry inspection compares the track profile to standards for safe operation.
CSXT said last year it reduced train accidents 24 percent. It said progress continues this year. Serious derailments in New York, Kentucky and West Virginia have prompted both the FRA’s action and the company’s reassessment.
On March 10, CSXT began conducting additional weekend visual inspections of its track between Erie, Pa., and Selkirk, N.Y., in addition to the normal twice-weekly inspections already conducted.
CSXT will run track geometry cars on all CSXT main lines between Erie and Bergen, N.J., via Selkirk, beginning today, after the FRA geometry cars conclude testing. These tests will be conducted at least three times annually, the company said.