Are You Ready for Hazardous CSX Train Derailment?

Attend the June 18 Emergency Preparedness Meeting

Responding to the expansion of the CSX train line by the Virginia Avenue Tunnel (VAT), local leaders will host a community meeting on June 18 to prepare Southwest and Southeast residents for a potential hazardous material spill or other derailment threats. The emergency preparedness meeting will convene at 10 a.m. on Saturday at 200 I St. SE, First Floor.

Representatives from several DC institutions will attend to present and answer questions people may have: DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) Director Chris Geldart, DC Fire and EMS Chief Gregory Dean, ANC 6D07 Commissioner Meredith Fascett and the DC Department of Energy and the Environment Director Tommy Wells.

The meeting will include:

  • how to get accurate information on incidents from first responders;

  • what to do if hazardous chemicals spill in the area;

  • when to shelter in place or evacuate;

  • and a walk-through of the CSX VAT temporary road changes for emergency vehicles.

Most recently on June 13, a CSX train in Baltimore derailed in the city’s Howard Street Tunnel. About 13 cars fell off the rails. None of the cars leaked, but at least one was carrying acetone, a chemical in nail-polish remover and paint thinner.

On May 1, about 14 cars on a CSX freight train line derailed along Ninth Street and Rhode Island Avenue NE — three of those cars leaked varying amounts of sodium hydroxide (lye) and calcium chloride. The last major spill in DC occurred in 2007 when a CSX train dumped 600 tons of coal into the Anacostia River.

In 2015 alone, the Federal Railroad Administration reported 267 CSX-related accidents — 109 involved hazardous material.

Anyone with further questions about the meeting or emergency plans can reach Commissioner Fascett at 6d07@anc.dc.gov.