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WSLS Investigates Lynchburg Train Derailment

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UPDATE (8:00 a.m.): 

The cleanup continues in Lynchburg after a CSX train derailed into the James River on Wednesday.

Crews are working to remove debris from the mangled tracks and will then work to to remove three railcars from the river.

Several city streets are back open Thursday morning after closing during the area evacuation of downtown.

WSLS has been on the scene through the early morning and will continue to keep you updated with latest.


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    WSLS found  out the National Transportation Safety Board met a week before the train derailment in Lynchburg for a forum on rail safety involving the transportation of crude oil and ethanol.

Crude oil was the hazardous material found on the CSX train that derailed in Lynchburg.

 Presenters discussed how the number of railroad tank cars carrying crude oil across the country has gone up significantly.

In fact, it's jumped from a few thousand carloads in 2005 to almost 400,000 carloads in 2013. Those numbers show a 443 increase%.

Reports also show that since 2006, there's been nine crude oil accidents across the country and there's been 48 facilities involving ethanol and crude oil.

While a representative from CSX pointed out the number of train accidents has actually been reduced by 80% since 1980.

"Much of the growth came in a nearly four-fold increase of crude oil shipments from 2011 to 2012," NTSB Chairman says. "Moreover, some of this crude oil - such as that originating in the Bakken Formation - may have more volatile properties, which increases the likelihood of a violent fire in the event of a derailment."

 The International Association of Fire Chiefs discussed the challenges of transporting these hazard materials. They said the biggest challenge is "the amount of crude oil being transported exceeds emergency response capabilities."

A representative also pointed out that these accidents aren't as frequent, but have high consequences.

Another challenge is the need for specialized resources. 

Paul Stancil from the NTSB says they are launching a team to investigate what happened in Lynchburg.

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