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Norfolk Southern: Broken Track Caused Station Square Train Derailment

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The cause of a train derailment in Station Square earlier this year has been determined.

The Aug. 5 derailment sent those waiting for the T below running as seven rail cars tumbled from the tracks above in the worst train accident within the city limits in decades.

Freight Train Cars Derail Near Station Square, Crash Onto T Tracks
(Photo Credit: NewsChopper 2/KDKA)

Fortunately, the cars held nothing more dangerous or volatile than dog food and mouthwash, but as clean-up crews began the daunting task for clearing the wreckage and debris, investigators set about to determine the cause.

On Wednesday, the Federal Railroad administration posted the findings of Norfolk Southern, which owns the train, and the railroad concludes that a broken or fractured rail caused it to derail.

The railroad had no further comment, but in its report it determined the train was traveling a recorded speed of 25 mile an hour and does not appear to have exceeded speed limit.

It also gave no indication of operator error. Rather, it cites the defective track alone as the primary cause.

Norfolk Southern not only own the train but the tracks themselves and is responsible for their maintenance. Its report estimates the damage to the train at $774,000 and the damage to the tracks at $80,000.

There was additional damage to the T line tracks and station below, but there was no comment from the Port Authority on whether the railroad has paid for those repairs.

However, the railroad has said in the past it would cover all damage done by the derailment.

The Federal Railroad Administration has not yet completed its investigation, but it will certainly lead to questions and concerns about track maintenance, especially within a populated area like the city.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the derailment and the train was not hauling anything toxic or flammable.

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