Oil Train That Crashed in Lynchburg Was Moving Below New Speed Limit

Wall Street Journal | May 1, 2014 | Column by Betsy Morris and Laura Stevens

Cars Carting Crude Were Traveling Just 24 Miles an Hour at the Time

A freight train derailed in downtown Lynchburg, Va., Wednesday and caught fire. There have been no casualties reported. Sheri Felipe

A train that derailed and caught fire in Lynchburg, Va., Wednesday was traveling well below a new speed limit set by railroads to try to improve safety in transporting crude oil.

Railroads said in February that they would slow long oil trains to no more than 40 miles an hour in high-risk urban areas by July 1, in an attempt to prevent explosive derailments such as one in July 2013 that killed 47 people and devastated the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.

Yet the CSX Corp. CSX -0.14% oil train that ran off the rails in Lynchburg Wednesday was traveling just 24 miles an hour when at least 13 of its 105 tank cars derailed on the edge of downtown. Three plunged into the James River. It is unclear how many breached and caught fire, safety in