CSX train derails in western Morgan County with no injuries or release of hazardous materials

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include new information from CSX.

by Kate Shunney

A CSX train on Monday afternoon, February 12, derailed in the area of Magnolia in western Morgan County, bringing fire, EMS and hazardous materials responders to the remote area to assess the situation.

Rail officials on Tuesday morning said they worked through the night to recover and remove the ten rail cars involved in the incident. Train traffic on those rail lines is expected to fully resume by Wednesday afternoon, said CSX officials.

CSX rail cars on Monday, February 12 in the Magnolia area.
photo by Jacob Buchanan, provided by Morgan County 911

Morgan County 911 Director Marshall Younker said in a Monday evening press release that the initial 911 call for the train incident came in from CSX around 4:30 p.m. The train corporation reported they had a train derailment in the 4800 block of Low Line Road, near Magnolia Road.

Paw Paw Volunteer Fire Department, Great Cacapon Volunteer Fire Department, Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Department, Morgan County EMS, Morgan County Sheriff Department, Hancock Fire Department, Washington County and Allegany County Md. Hazardous Materials teams were dispatched to the area.

Paw Paw Chief 32 was first to arrive and established command, said Younker.

“A perimeter was set up for safety reasons, but no evacuation was needed due to the remote location.  After Hazardous Materials teams had completed a check of the area and conversed with CSX representative it was determined there was no need for local responders and CSX crews would handle the incident,” 911 officials reported.  The last local unit cleared the scene at 7:52 p.m., Younker said.

Based on a CSX statement, the derailment involved nine train cars — three empty cars and six carrying identified chemicals. No hazardous materials were released in the incident, according to response teams.

CSX released the following statement about the incident on Monday night:

“At approximately 4:16 p.m. today, a CSX train derailed in Morgan County, WV. Preliminary information indicates that three empty cars, one car containing dry cement, one car containing calcium chloride, and four cars containing sodium hydroxide were involved in the incident. Local emergency response teams confirmed that none of the cars carrying hazardous materials lost any of their contents. There were no injuries to the train crew. CSX appreciates the swift response of the local first responders. The safety of the community and everyone on site is CSX’s top priority as we develop a recovery plan.”

On Tuesday morning, a CSX spokesperson said recovery efforts and repairs to the rail line in the area of the derailment were ongoing.

“CSX crews worked through the night as they began the process of gaining access to and removing the ten rail cars involved in the train derailment which occurred yesterday at 4:16 p.m. in Morgan County, WV. The safety of the community and everyone on site is CSX’s top priority as the crews continue their work of removing the equipment, making repairs to the rail lines, and completely restoring the area. Service is expected to resume on one of the two rail lines impacted by the incident by 1 p.m. this afternoon,” said the company.

“Repairs on the second line will continue throughout the day and are expected to be completed tomorrow afternoon. CSX appreciates the swift response of the local first responders yesterday. None of the derailed cars carrying hazardous materials lost any of their contents, there were no injuries as a result of the incident and no danger to the public. The cause of the incident is under investigation,” they said in the press release.