The operators of the Norfolk Southern train involved in a toxic derailment in East Palestine, Ohio earlier this month received an “critical audible alarm message instructing the crew to slow and stop the train to inspect a hot axle,” according to a newly released National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report Thursday.
The preliminary report said after hearing the warning from the hot bearing detector on Train 32N, the train’s engineer “increased the dynamic brake application to further slow and stop the train.”
“The function of the HBD is to detect overheated bearings and provide audible real-time warnings to train crews,” the report said.
“Train 32N passed three HBD systems on its trip before the derailment,” adding that at the third system, “the suspect bearing’s temperature at 253°F above ambient.”
“After the train stopped, the crew observed fire and smoke and notified the Cleveland East dispatcher of a possible derailment. With dispatcher authorization, the crew applied handbrakes to the two railcars at the head of the train, uncoupled the head-end locomotives, and moved the locomotives about 1 mile from the uncoupled railcars,” the NTSB wrote. “Responders arrived at the derailment site and began response efforts.”
About 15,000 pounds of contaminated soil and 1.1 million gallons of contaminated water have been excavated from site of the derailment, Norfolk Southern said Monday.
Dozens of rail cars, including 11 carrying toxic chemicals, derailed as the train passed through the town on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. Officials conducted a controlled release of vinyl chloride three days after the derailment to avoid an explosion.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Fox News’ Paul Best contributed to this report.