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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

NTSB issues early findings in chlorine gas tank-car incident

The AXLX 1702 tank car
Photo – NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Monday released its preliminary report on a tank-car leak that spilled liquified compressed chlorine at the Axiall Corp. rail-car loading facility in West Virginia in August.

Tank car AXLX 1702, which had a DOT-105J500W specification, experienced a sudden tank shell crack shortly after it was filled with the hazardous material at the company's facility in New Martinsville, W. Va., on Aug. 27, according to an NTSB press release.

About 2.5 hours after the crack developed, the entire 90-ton load of chlorine gas released from the crack and formed a large vapor cloud that moved south from the Axiall facility along the Ohio River Valley. Five Axiall and three contractor employees were treated for exposure injuries and released; two people were transported to the hospital.

The release caused "significant" vegetation damage downwind from the release, although no water contamination was reported.

Chlorine gas is a toxic hazard that may be fatal if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

NTSB investigators completed on-scene work at the site and at the Rescar Co. tank-car repair facility in Dubois, Pa. The tank car was built by ACF Industries in 1981.

The investigation is continuing. Others active in the investigation include the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Axiall, Rescar and AllTranstek.

To read the NTSB's preliminary findings, click here.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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