Leaks from the CSX train derailment that occurred near Ninth Street and Rhode Island Avenue NE early Sunday morning have been contained, and investigators have not discovered any air or water quality issues nearby, according to officials.
Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Mayor Muriel Bowser said that although clean-up of the derailment continues, responders have secured “all hazardous material.” She added that service on the MARC Brunswick and Amtrak Capitol Limited lines—which share the affected track with CSX—would not run on Monday. As of 5:30 p.m., Metro Red Line trains were not operating between the NoMa–Gallaudet and Brookland stations; normal service may return tonight.
John Donnelly, deputy fire chief of D.C.’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services department, said that “about half” of the sodium hydroxide being carried in one of the train’s 15,500-gallon tankers leaked into the rail bed and ground underneath it. Responders are assessing how much of that ground must be taken out, he added. Donnelly explained that a second, “small” leak of ethanol from the train had been contained, and responders were uprighting the car from which the ethanol spilled.
Once that tanker is uprighted and cleared of the separate Red Line track, Metro will run test trains to ensure normal service is safe, spokesperson Dan Stessel said. “If all goes well, we can expect service to be restored later this evening,” he noted. “But we want to get the word out that Red Line customers should” pay attention for potential service impacts tomorrow.
Melanie Cost, a representative from CSX, said a third “calcium chloride leak” from the train was identified today, but ultimately contained “within 15 minutes.”
Officials did not offer details about a cause behind the derailment, which happened around 6:40 a.m.
“We want to find out what happened and how we can support making the infrastructure safe using all the apparatus of the D.C. government,” Bowser said. The Federal Rail Administration is investigating the incident.
Photo via DCFEMS