National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
Washington, D.C. - On July 18, 2001 an eastbound CSX freight train (L41216) derailed 11 cars within the Howard Street Tunnel beneath the city of Baltimore, Maryland. CSX operated one track within the tunnel. The train, originating from Hamlet, NC en route to Oak Island, NJ, consisted of 3 locomotives and 60 cars. No one was injured in the accident.
The mechanical group continues to conduct a detailed inspection of the railroad cars, and locomotives. The running gear of the derailed equipment such as springs, wheels, brake equipment and foundation brake rigging has also been inspected.
Documentation of the hazardous materials being transported and the post-accident clean up is continuing and all tank cars involved in the accident are being examined.
The signal system was tested and found to be functioning as designed. The track group is reviewing rail inspections, repair records, and the track geometry history. Safety Board investigators have brought pieces of rail to NTSB's headquarters materials laboratory for further examination.
The pipeline group has ended its on-site phase of the investigation. They have documented and extracted a section of the 40-inch water pipe for further testing. NTSB pipeline investigators were on the scene for the replacement of new pipe and the repressurizing of the water line at the accident site to see if any anomalies were present. There were none found.
The survival factors group is developing a full chronology of 911 calls and the City of Baltimore's records pertaining to those calls. Also, the tape recording of the radio conversation between the CSXT train dispatcher and the accident train crew is being transcribed.
The toxicology test results were negative for the accident train crew.
The Board has requested and received records from the City of Baltimore's Water Department to determine if the water main break occurred before or after the derailment.
The train crews that operated trains through the tunnel prior to the accident train were interviewed to document conditions that they may have noted when they passed through the tunnel.
Additional factual information will be provided as appropriate and a complete factual report will be available in several months. While a final report of the accident is months away, the Safety Board can issue safety recommendations at any time during the course of an investigation.
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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.