JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A June 27 derailment of a freight train at St. Jacob, Ill., was caused by a coupler retainer plate that failed, CSX Transportation investigators say.
In information filed with the Federal Railroad Administration, the company explained that the coupler retainer plate attached to an empty boxcar dislodged. With that plate out of place, the coupler drawbar dropped between the rails, derailing the boxcar and 20 trailing rail cars.
The train was traveling from East St. Louis, Ill., to Indianapolis and consisted of two locomotives and 131 rail cars. A two-person crew was operating the train, and they were not injured.
Following the derailment investigation, CSXT directed all rail car shops and inspectors to increase inspections of the coupler retainer plate on those particular boxcars.
The derailment and the release of ammonium nitrate and hydrogen peroxide resulted in the overnight evacuation of several area residents as well as some property damage to adjoining land. CSXT officials are working with those who were affected to compensate them for damages. Environmental remediation, consisting of the removal and replacement of affected soils, is complete.
Meanwhile, the company said it intends to pay expenses related to the derailment, which includes Madison County first-responder services.
“We are grateful for the assistance rendered by Madison County public officials and first responders,” CSX spokesman Gary Sease said. “We understand the disruption that this derailment caused to area residents and appreciate the tremendous efforts required by firefighters, police officers and other dedicated public servants.”