Feds update track inspection standards after derailment

Feds update track inspection standards after derailment

Federal rail officials announced an update to railway inspection standards on Friday after pinpointing the cause of a fiery oil train derailment in February.

The Federal Railroad Administration blamed a broken rail for causing the derailment and eventual fire in rural West Virginia.


The FRA said inspectors for train operator CSX and its contractor, Sperry Rail Service, missed the cracked rail during two separate inspections in the months leading up to the accident.

In response, the FRA said it will urge “closer and more detailed inspections where defects and flaws are suspected” and require more thorough training for rail inspectors. 

The agency will also look into updating standards for rail conditions and consider telling railroads to slow trains or replace rails when they present a safety risk.

The FRA fined both CSX and Sperry $25,000 for their roles in the accident. The agency said CSX will now give its rail operators access to previous inspection data during their assessment of track conditions. 

“Our country relies on the safe transportation of large quantities of energy products across the nation, and it is our responsibility to require operators to implement strict safety standards,” Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxAnthony Renard FoxxBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Lyft sues New York over new driver minimum pay law Lyft confidentially files for IPO MORE said in a statement. 

“FRA’s findings and action today should make it clear to rail operators that we will do exactly that.”

Twenty-seven cars carrying crude oil derailed in CSX’s February crash, sparking a series of explosions and fires. 

The incident was one of the highest-profile derailments over the last few years, a trend that led the Obama administration to overhaul its standards for oil train cars in early May.

“This is just our latest effort to increase the safe transportation of crude and other energy products,” FRA acting administrator Sarah Feinberg said Friday.