CSX Rail System Found Dangerous

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CSX Rail System Found Dangerous

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Railroad Administration has found potentially dangerous defects in many areas of the CSX Transportation rail system used by passenger and commuter trains all along the East Coast.

A 60 percent increase in track-caused accidents over five years on the 22,700-mile system prompted the agency to begin a two-week systemwide track audit on Feb. 22, The Washington Post reported Friday on its Internet site.

The review found many instances where the distance between the rails had spread wide enough to risk derailments.

Two such wide areas were found in the District of Columbia on the line used by Amtrak, Virginia Railway Express and all north-south CSX freight trains. The defects were repaired immediately after they were found.

Defects were also found in Florida, Pennsylvania and Maryland

Two of three recent track-caused derailments were caused by wide track, including a minor derailment of Amtrak's Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited at Connellsville, Pa., on Jan. 30, the report said.

George Gavalla, the agency's associate administrator for safety, said he worried about the type of defects inspectors found.

''When you look at the nature of the defects, these are conditions that should not exist on any Class One (major) railroad,'' Gavalla told the Post. ''We will not tolerate wide gauge on any railroad.''

CSX President Ronald Conway called the conditions ''unacceptable.''

''Whatever is necessary to do, we'll do,'' he said.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), March 31, 2000

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