BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The 26th Street retaining wall collapse in Baltimore is one of several major problems for CSX on the East Coast this week.
Mike Hellgren reports there are several questions involving crumbling infrastructure and what’s being transported on the trains that crisscross Maryland.
In addition to the road collapse in Baltimore, there were tanker cars derailing and exploding in Lynchburg, Va. and a train carrying coal going off the tracks in Prince George’s County.
CSX has major operations across Maryland, transporting tons of materials every day. Its rail network connects our area to cities as far away as Chicago, New Orleans, Boston and Miami.
Fred Millar, who consults on hazardous chemicals, tells WJZ few have any idea exactly what’s going through their cities.
“We thought it was crazy to be bringing enormously dangerous cargo through Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Philadelphia, Wilmington and New York City, which is the CSX line up the Atlantic Coast. They call it their I-95 line,” Millar said.
CSX has 1,400 miles of track in Maryland and transports roughly 380,000 carloads of freight every year here.
“They don’t have to tell you exactly what’s in the cargo because that’s proprietary information. They don’t have to tell you what route they’re using because Congress has allowed them to make secret decisions about their routing,” Millar said.
The transport of crude oil, which was in the Lynchburg train, has been a major point of concern.
“As a nation, as a country, as a transportation system and certainly when it comes to safety we are trying to play catch up,” said Deborah Hersman, former NTSB chair.
WJZ has continued to press CSX for answers and information. The company issued a statement–only addressing the 26th street collapse–saying they are working with officials to support the safety and recovery of residents and businesses.
Representative Elijah Cummings is a senior member of the House Transportation Committee.
“It’s just a reminder to me that we have a fragile infrastructure, particularly on the East Coast and here in our city,” said Cummings, (D) Maryland. “When people see cars falling over the sidewalk, and it becomes an international story, I think it concerns all of us.”
It could be as many as 40 days before homeowners on 26th Street are allowed back in other homes, as city crews and engineers conduct a detailed analysis.
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