Railway Vows More Safety Features, ‘Detectors,’ After Toxic Ohio Derailment

Norfolk Southern said Monday it will improve the use of detectors along railroad tracks to spot problems, after a fiery derailment last month on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, in which overheated wheel bearing, detected only just before the accident, is believed to be have been a major cause.

  • The rail company said it would evaluate the distance between “hot bearing” detectors — now about 13.9 miles apart on Norfolk-Southern’s core network.
  • The company also promised to look at every location in which the distance is more than 15 miles and to use more detectors if practical.
  • The National Transportation Safety Board say the crew operating the train that derailed Feb. 3 got a detector warning but couldn’t come to a stop  before dozens of cars, including some carry toxic chemical, came off the tracks and caught fire.