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CSX: Maryland train explosion caused by chemical cargo

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News,Maryland,Transportation

ROSEDALE, Md. (AP) -- Federal investigators say a CSX freight train was traveling 49 mph and that the engineer blew a whistle three times before it collided with a garbage truck outside Baltimore, leading to a derailment, explosion and chemical fire.

Robert Sumwalt of the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday that the train hit the right rear axle of the truck as it was crossing the tracks around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Sumwalt says the locomotive applied its emergency brakes and traveled nearly a mile before coming to a stop. Fifteen cars derailed, including three of the four cars that were carrying hazardous materials.

The chemical that exploded was sodium chlorate, which is highly volatile. Sumwalt says the explosion, which damaged nearby buildings and shook homes miles away, occurred 5 minutes and 23 seconds after the initial collision. The sodium chlorate was in powder form and was being hauled in a covered hopper car. Another chemical burned for nearly 10 hours after the crash.

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