Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NTSB issues first report on NJ bridge incident

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The National Transportation Safety Board on Monday released its preliminary report on the Paulsboro, N.J. train derailment Nov. 30, but the initial release does not identify the cause of the accident.

NTSB’s report says readings from a data recorder showed the train was moving at 7 mph, well below the speed limit of 10 mph, when it derailed while crossing a swing bridge spanning Mantua Creek in Paulsboro, located in Gloucester County, roughly 14 miles southwest of Philadelphia and of Camden, N.J.

Conrail Shared Assets train personnel had paused before crossing the bridge, seeking clearance to proceed, afater being stopped by a red signal. NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman earlier has noted the signal light was red, but that the train's crew got permission from a dispatcher to proceed.

A tank car in the accident ruptured, releasing vinyl chloride into the air and prompting the evacuation of nearby residents. NTSB said that 22 Paulsboro residents and the train conductor were treated and released at hospitals, fewer than were initially reported.