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Three Injured In West Virginia Train Derailment Caused By Rockslide

Four engines and 22 empty coal cars derailed Wednesday in West Virginia, injuring three crewmembers and spilling partially lit diesel fuel into a nearby waterway.

According to CSX Transportation, the freight railroad company operating the rail network, the derailment occurred when the train “struck a rockslide” at approximately 4:51 a.m., causing the empty coal train to derail.

“The lead locomotive had three crew members, a conductor, an engineer, and an engineer trainee onboard,” CSX said in an initial statement. “The locomotive caught fire, but all three crew members are safe and being evaluated and treated for non-life threatening injuries.”

According to the company, some “unknown quantity of diesel fuel and oil” spilled from the derailed engines into the New River, “and environmental measures will be deployed” for containment. Thankfully, according to CSX, no hazardous materials were transported, and the cars were empty. “The incident posed no danger to the public,” CSX said in a follow-up to their initial statement.

All 22 coal cars have been removed as of early this morning, and CSX Transportation says they are removing the remaining four locomotives.

According to their update, the freight rail company is working in coordination with the National Park Service, the EPA, and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to assess the level of contamination and to “remove any rock or soil that came in contact with diesel fuel.”

Additionally, CSX says it plans to deploy drones along its rail network to determine “similar topographical characteristics” to mitigate the risk of future rockslides resulting in derailment.

Two of the three crewmembers that were injured in the derailment remain hospitalized and are “receiving treatment for non-life-threatening injuries.”

“CSX is very appreciative of the collaboration and support from all the responding agencies, in particular the members of the Green Sulphur District Fire and Rescue team, who were first on the scene of the incident and rendered aid to our valued employees,” the company said.

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