CSX train derails in Northeast D.C., causing hazardous leak

A CSX freight train has derailed  near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station Sunday morning leaving several cars overturned and a hazardous leak.

WASHINGTON –A CSX freight train derailed near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station Sunday morning, leaving several cars overturned and a hazardous leak coming from at least one car, according to city officials.

No injuries have been reported. It’s unclear what caused the derailment.

According to CSX,  14 cars derailed from a train bound for Hamlet, North Carolina, from Cumberland, Maryland. The derailment occurred at around 6:40 a.m.

The leak of sodium hydroxide, described as coming from one full tank car,  was finally “plugged,” and emergency responders, including hazmat crews, had moved on to the clean-up phase, officials said during a 10:45 a.m. press conference.

“CSX operations and hazardous materials personnel are working with first responders on the derailment this morning in Washington D.C.,” CSX said in a statement.  “The safety of the community, first responders and CSX’s employees is our highest priority.”

Sodium hydroxide is used primarily “to produce various household products including paper, soap and detergents.”

CSX later said crews found leaks in two other cars . A rail car leaking non-hazardous calcium chloride solution had been sealed. Another ethanol rail car was leaking from the base of a valve. A CSX spokeswoman said crews were working to seal the leak.

The train car leaks have since been sealed, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a news conference Sunday evening.

Rhode Island Avenue was closed in both directions from 4th to 12th Streets Northeast until 12:30 p.m.

There was no Red Line service between NoMa and Brookland.  Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said Metro hopes to restore service later Sunday night.

Maryland transit officials said major delays were expected for MARC’s Brunswick Line, which is unlikely to operate past Silver Spring on Monday.

Amtrak service was also disrupted by Sunday’s derailment. A spokeswoman said late Sunday that bus service would provided between D.C. and Pittsburgh until the tracks were cleared.

WTOP’s Tiffany Arnold contributed to this report.

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