Investigators search for cause of train derailment that destroye - CBS46 News

Investigators search for cause of train derailment that destroyed Atlanta man's home

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL
ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Railroad crews have rebuilt a section of track that was destroyed when a train derailed just west of downtown Atlanta on Thursday.

At about 6:45 a.m. Friday, a train once again moved through the Hunter Hills neighborhood. Crews scrambled late into the night Thursday to repair the damaged rails. They also removed most of the derailed cars from the side of the house that took the brunt of the accident.

The two open-air rail cars that remain at the site are now being repurposed as dumpsters which workers are filling with parts of the wreckage.

The accident happened at about 3 a.m. Thursday. Fourteen rail cars slammed into the back of a retired Marine’s home while he was asleep, and the impact swept him out of the house. Neighbors found him inside an open-air freight car yelling for help.

Medics took him to the hospital with a leg injury, and neighbors said it was a miracle that he survived. They said the derailment was like nothing they’d ever experienced.

“I thought it was an earthquake, but I was like ‘It couldn’t be,’” said Savonia Campbell. “So when I came out, I saw the train, and I could see the sparks and everything coming from the train. It just sounds so crazy.”

“I was holding on because I thought, it was shaking,” said Apryl Stinson. “The house was shaking that bad, and the lights started flickering on and off.”

As federal investigators work to find out how the derailment happened, CBS46 is asking why homes were built so close to train tracks. A spokesman for the Federal Railway Administration said there is no standard requirement for distance between a home and railroad tracks.

When CBS46 asked whether CSX officials have been able to determine what caused the derailment, company spokesman Rob Doolittle issued the following statement:

The cause of yesterday’s incident is still under review. Factors that are considered in the investigation include the condition of the tracks where the incident took place, the mechanical condition of the cars that were involved and the way the train was handled by the operating crew. Any lessons that we learn from the investigation into an incident like this will be applied to future operations as part of our commitment to continuous safety improvement.

There is no history of incidents on that stretch of track, and CSX works hard every day to ensure the safety of our operations and our infrastructure. Among the primary safeguards we implement, every car on every train is inspected before it leaves a rail yard, and tracks are inspected visually several times each week. CSX also uses sophisticated ultrasound systems to inspect the internal condition of the steel rails that trains run on, to identify potential faults before they become safety issues. Those efforts, along with regular training of our operating crews, help ensure the safety of the communities where we operate, our customers and our employees.

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