New video shows what may have happened to cause East Palestine train derailment

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — The National Transportation Safety Board is looking at a mechanical issue with an axle as the possible cause of a train derailment that disrupted the lives of many in East Palestine and parts of Beaver County.

A national organization of railroad workers began asking questions about why this issue apparently went undetected and they released a surprising video that captured the train minute before the derailment.

The video was captured on a ring doorbell. It shows a burst of white, likely of sparks and flames from the wheel of the train about five miles before it derailed.

A group of current and retired railroad employees shared the video as a way to advocate for safety and other issues. They believe an overheated bearing likely lead to the derailment. They believe the issue should have been found during an inspection.

“These things just do not catastrophically fail all at once,” said Fitz Edler, a retired engineer who spent 40 years on the tracks.

Edler is a spokesman for Railroad United.

Ftiz says they got hot because something was starting to seize up. He also said there’ll be evidence of that and that’s one of the reasons, by regulation, all of the equipment is supposed to be regularly inspected.

The NTSB would not comment about inspection reports but acknowledged over the weekend that a wayside detection sensor signaled an alert just before the derailment.

Michael Graham with NTSB said the crew did receive an alarm from a wayside defective detector shortly before the derailment indicating a mechanical issue and then an emergency brake application was initiated.

“It should not have gotten to where it melted or failed. It should not have,’ Said Edler.

The group also believes that the placement of the cars may have been a contributing factor to the derailment.

They say too many of the heavy cars were in the back of the train, possibly creating an accordion or wave-like stress.

“You can imagine that if more of the weight or the power of the pulling is at the far end away from where the locomotives are you are going to get a lot of this kind of action, a kind of wave action,” said Edler. “It’s a minimum, it’s really bad practice and historically bad practice.”

The Railroad Workers United also questioned whether recent cutbacks may have adversely impacted the inspection process.

We reached out to Norfolk Southern and they declined to comment.

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW

Comments on this article