Two trains smashed into each other at the Brooklyn, West Virginia (WV), rail yard last Wednesday, leaving about 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel on the ground according to the Associated Press.
The accident at the CSX rail yard in New Martinsville is under investigation but a local fire department official said that a northbound locomotive collided with southbound rail cars being pushed by another locomotive. At impact, the northbound train apparently flipped over, and fuel started pouring out of its ruptured “belly fuel tank,” the Wheeling Intelligencer reports. Two people on board one of the locomotives suffered injuries, and hazmat crews cleaned up the area. The state’s environmental protection agency is also on the case.
Fortunately no lives were lost in this accident, but the potential for disaster was there. Major train accidents can result in devastating injuries and even death for train crews. In addition to physical injuries, long-term exposure to diesel fumes or other toxic chemicals has also been shown to pose a serious health risk to rail workers.
Whatever the cause of this accident, it is obvious that out of control trains and train cars put rail workers, passengers, and innocent bystandards in harm’s way. Hopefully authorities will be able to get to the bottom of it and prevent future train accidents of this nature.