(Marion County, Florida November 16, 2016)
Two employees were injured early Wednesday morning at about 4:15 A.M., EST when two CSX railroad freight trains collided, resulting in a diesel fuel spill of about 7,400 gallons as well as other fluids, and the total derailment of two locomotives and 32 freight cars carrying coal and non-hazardous phosphate on a rail line that carries a daily average of two dozen CSX freight and Amtrak passenger trains at a maximum allowable speed of 79 mph.
Reportedly, one train was on a rail siding while the other was on the main line.
The exact location of the collision was in a rural area near Citra, FL, in Marion County. A number of major highways in the area were blocked due to the non-derailed cars in the consists of both trains which now were without locomotives to power them.
The crash was another in a series of both CSX and other major railroad collisions that were intended to be halted with federally-mandated installation and activation of a satellite-based, computerized system called Positive Train Control (PTC) intended to slow or halt trains headed on a collision course, thus overriding crew error or misjudgment. The railroad industry has united behind its lobbying group, the Association of American Railroads, to appeal Congress at least twice for delay of the due date for activation of PTC nationwide.
The train carrying coal was 110 cars long and was headed for Tampa, FL, while the phosphate train consisted of 100 cars bound for Chicago, IL. Each train was powered by three locomotives and carried a crew of two, a locomotive engineer and a conductor.
The fuel spill was resultant of the rupture of the fuel tank on one of the locomotives, while tons of the commodities carried by both of the trains were spilled across a wide area.