A preliminary assessment released by the National Transportation Security Board (NTSB) on Thursday revealed that the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous chemicals in eastern Ohio earlier this month was caused by overheated wheel bearings. The report also indicated that the train had triggered hot bearing detectors (HBD), which identified multiple points where it exceeded Norfolk Southern’s “critical” standard, with temperatures exceeding 250 degrees above ambient temperature. Consequently, the train was forced to stop, and a fire broke out.
— CNN (@CNN) February 23, 2023
The hot bearing detectors (HBD) are intended to identify elevated temperatures in bearings and alert the train crew in real-time. As per the report, the train had passed through three HBD systems during its journey before the derailment. Following the third HBD, the train’s temperature was found to be 253 degrees higher than the average temperature.
Due to the derailment, approximately 2,000 people had to be evacuated, and on February 6 a controlled burn was performed, releasing dangerous chemicals into the neighborhood, including vinyl chloride. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arrived at the site a few hours after the derailment to assess the situation, and government officials, including Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, have stated that the water and air are safe. However, residents remain apprehensive about the long-term effects of the derailment.
On Feb. 21, investigators inspected the train cars transporting the hazardous substances and gathered evidence for laboratory analysis, noting the damage caused. The investigation is still in progress, and forthcoming investigative efforts will center on various aspects, including the wheelset and bearing, derailment damage, and tank car design. Furthermore, the review of the accident response, including the venting and combustion of railcar design, vinyl chloride, and maintenance procedures and practices, NS use of wayside defect detectors, and NS railcar inspection practices, will also be scrutinized.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg examined the derailment site on tuesday, and talked with local authorities on his visit to East Palestine.The visit coincided with the release of the NTSB report, providing an opportunity for Buttigieg to gain insight into the situation and how it is being handled.
The NTSB report on the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, is a crucial update on the investigation. It reveals that the overheated wheel bearings caused the train to halt and triggered a fire. The EPA arrived at the location several hours after the derailment to assess the situation, and government officials have affirmed the safety of the water and air. Nevertheless, residents are still anxious about the potential long-term impact of the incident. Further investigation is in progress, with a focus on several aspects of the incident. The publication of the study coincided with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s trip to East Palestine, allowing him to obtain a greater knowledge of how the problem is being handled.
The preceding article is a summary of an article that originally appeared on The Daily Caller