NTSB Unveils Preliminary Report on Train Derailment

Cause of Train Derailment Identified by Safety Board

(LibertySociety.com) – The National Transportation Safety Board has released an initial report on the derailment of the Norfolk Southern train in East Palestine, Ohio, on the night of February 3rd, 2023. The Chair of the board, Jennifer Homendy, held a press conference to announce the findings, stating that “Every single event we investigate is preventable.” The train reportedly derailed after the crew became aware that a wheel bearing was overheating. The issue was identified by a Hot Bearing Detector (HBD), a system that is placed strategically on train tracks to alert train engineers of an issue.

The Norfolk Southern train had been through three different HBD’s before it derailed, receiving an audible warning of an overheated bearing when it passed through the third one. Homendy stated that the engineer did exactly what he was supposed to do, following all protocols. She described how a fire was identified on the railcar that was affected and the actions that were taken to move the unaffected part of the train away from the derailed cars. Eleven of the cars that derailed were carrying toxic chemicals.

The report detailed actions that would be taken to prevent something like this from happening in the future, including improvements to designs, maintenance, handling of toxic materials, and the wheels and bearings. Homendy left no doubt as to how serious the NTSB takes their investigations, while also expressing concern and assuring the residents of East Palestine that they would be supported.

Investigators plan to continue looking into elements of the disaster, including the wheel bearing and rail car, as well as the response to the incident, the inspection processes, and the burning of the vinyl chloride.

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