For quite some time, the fatal derailment accident involving an Amtrak passenger train was making headline news across the county. There were a variety of theories about the speed of the train and whether someone was shooting at trains in the Philadelphia area, and a variety of other theories.
Whenever a passenger train is involved in a accident, it makes sense that it captures the public attention. However, passenger rail service only accounts for a very small portion of the total rail traffic in the United States. Most of the rail traffic in the United States is for Freight Trains, which carry everything from coal to cars across the country. Some of the freight trains are filled with hazardous chemicals and fuels, and an accident involving a freight train can result in serious personal injury not only to those operating the trains, but also to the entire community around the crash site.
According to a news report from the Tennessean, the recent derailment involving a CSX freight train carrying toxic liquid chemicals caused serious environmental concerns and a town of around 5,000 residents was evacuated following the train crash. All of the residents asked to leave their homes and business were located within a mile and a half of the crash site. Emergency personnel went through the neighborhoods knocking on individual doors telling them they should leave immediately. Continue reading