Explosion as chemical train derails outside Baltimore

One injured as 15 cars derailed after collision with truck

A freight train carrying hazardous chemicals and a variety of other materials collided with a truck northeast of Baltimore yesterday, injuring the truck driver and sparking a fire.

About 15 CSX Corp train cars derailed shortly after 2pm (7pm Irish time) near White Marsh, Maryland, and caught fire, sending a thick column of black smoke into the air.

The driver of the truck struck by the train was sent to a Baltimore shock trauma center in serious condition, the Baltimore County Police and Fire Department said in a statement. Two CSX workers on the train were unhurt, it said.

At least one of the rail cars contained sodium chlorate, an oxidizer used in a variety of industrial processes, CSX said in a statement. The US department of transportation classifies sodium chlorate as a hazardous material, according to CSX. The train, being pulled by two locomotives, had 45 rail cars that also contained products such as lumber and printing paper.


A police and fire spokeswoman said people were advised to leave a nearby 20-block area, with those staying behind urged to keep windows closed and air conditioners off.

It was the third significant rail crash in the United States in the past two weeks. On Saturday, two freight trains operated by BNSF Railway Co and Union Pacific Corp crashed at a rail intersection in rural Missouri, injuring seven people.

That incident came a little more than a week after a Metro North commuter train derailed near Fairfield, Connecticut. That incident injured more than 70 people and shut down traffic on one of the most heavily traveled passenger rail corridors in the United States.

The CSX train involved in yesterday's incident was traveling from Selkirk, New York, to Waycross, Georgia. An investigation is underway, CSX said.