By Grace McCarthy
The Northern Light 

NTSB releases report on Custer train derailment


Last updated 3/16/2022 at 10:48am

Courtesy of Dept. of Ecology

The Custer train derailment

A report issued on June 10 by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) examines how the tank cars were operated during last December's train derailment. The report does not determine probable cause of the derailment, and the FBI and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are left to conclude their investigations.

The report comes after Seattle's National Public Radio station affiliate KUOW published a June 7 article with documents obtained from union officials representing BNSF's rail crews that alleged the incident was sabotage.

A 106-car train en route to Ferndale derailed around 11:40 a.m. December 22, 2020, forcing evacuations within a half-mile radius of the 7500 block of Portal Way. Ten tank cars carrying highly flammable crude oil derailed, with three of the cars releasing 29,000 gallons of petroleum, according to the NTSB report. However, the Washington State Department of Ecology reported in January that most of the oil was recovered, except for 5,400 to 8,000 gallons.

Fires burned uncontrolled for two hours as 120 people evacuated surrounding homes and businesses.

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