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Officials Work To Mitigate Effects Of Derailment On Ellicott City

Investigators still won't discuss cause of derailment

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Twenty-one of the 80 cars derailed on Monday night, killing two young women and crushing parked cars.
Armando Trull
Twenty-one of the 80 cars derailed on Monday night, killing two young women and crushing parked cars.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are releasing few details about the probe into a train derailment early yesterday in Ellicott City. The derailment resulted in the deaths of two 19-year-old women who were sitting on the ledge of a railroad bridge.

The investigation is focusing more and more on the condition of the rails the train was traveling on when 21 of the 80 cars derailed, spilling coal that buried both Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr.

"The engineer in training was at the helm, and was in control. And as I said yesterday, they were at 25 miles per hour with an authorized 25 miles per hour speed limit," said lead NTSB investigator Jim Southworth.

Southworth added that access to the tracks at the heart of Ellicott City's downtown business area will also be a part of the investigation.

"The safety board has been on record for years being concerned about the safety of the public, commercial and resident properties that are near railroads, as are the railroads themselves, including CSX," he said.

CSX owned the train that derailed, and spokesman Gary Sease said the company is aiding the investigation. That includes helping with the cleanup of coal that spilled into the Patapsco River beneath the bridge.

"We've set up some dams in the Patapsco," said Sease. "It doesn't appear to be a lot of coal in the river right now, but any is too much."

Sease added that CSX has a program that will offer restitution to businesses in Ellicott City affected by road closures forced by the derailment, which occurred in the city's downtown area that is full of shops and restaurants.

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