CSX: Derailed freight train was carrying hazardous materials

The Baltimore Sun reported on Tuesday that the train crash was followed by "a loud explosion and sent a plume of white smoke into the sky that could be seen clearly from downtown Baltimore."

CSX said that has been working with emergency responders at Rosedale, Md.

"CSX’s top priority is the safety of the community, the emergency responders and the environment, and an emergency response plan is activated to provide full support," the company said.

The company said that at least one person was seriously injured by the Baltimore accident. The victim was driving a truck that was hit by the train moments before the derailment, the company said.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it was it was launching an investigation into the cause of the freight rail accident.

"People associate us with aviation accidents, and we certainly do that, but we are also an independent agency that is charged by Congress to investigate transportation accidents of all modes," NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said during a media briefing late on Tuesday.

Sumwalt said the train was carrying "mixed freight." He said it was struck at a railroad crossing at a "private grade-crossing" that did not have signals or lights.

CSX said the train, which was traveling from Selkirk, N.Y., to Waycross, Ga., was carrying "a variety of products from lumber to printing paper," in addition to the chemical that has been blamed for the explosions on Tuesday in the area of the accident.

The NTSB is also currently investigating a pair of recent highway bridge collapses in Washington state and Missouri that were caused by an oversized truck and a freight rail train hitting support structures, respectively.

Transportation advocates have seized upon the incidents, as well as a recent crash on New York and Connecticut's Metro North commuter rail, to argue that Congress should increase funding for road and transit improvements.