By: Lucille G. McReynolds
Letter Originally published in the Fredericksburg Freelance Star: 7/26/2010
While not a major disaster, the July 6 derailment of three coal cars on the rail tracks in Stafford County certainly heightened the fears and anxieties of us in Fredericksburg.
CSX continues to store numerous tankers containing hazardous materials in the rail yard just 100 yards from our homes.
Why must our safety continue to be jeopardized? An investigation to determine the cause of the derailment is now under way. Our concern is that any incident–whether the result of extreme temperatures, faulty rails, defective cross ties, or unsafe train operations or equipment–would result in disaster for this city, if it occurs in or near the tanker-filled rail yard.
Today, within just five city blocks, there are 23 visible tankers containing liquefied gas petroleum and hydroxide sodium. Others are hidden from view on adjacent tracks.
An overturned coal car can be righted, and its contents recovered and refilled; but what happens if even one tanker is struck, dislodged, overturns, or, God forbid, derails?