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NTSB Opens Public Docket on Rail Tank-Car Breach, Chlorine Release
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 NTSB Opens Public Docket on Rail Tank-Car Breach, Chlorine Release

​WASHINGTON (July 26, 2017) — The National Transportation Safety Board opened the public docket Wednesday as part of the agency’s ongoing investigation of the Aug. 27, 2016, rail tank-car breach and subsequent chlorine release in New Martinsville, West Virginia.

The tank shell of rail tank-car AXLX 1702 suddenly cracked shortly after the tank car was filled with a 90-ton load of liquefied compressed chlorine at the Axiall Corporation rail car loading facility. The full load was released through the crack, and a vapor cloud formed as the chlorine was released. Eight workers were treated for exposure injuries, including two that were transported to a hospital and released. Significant vegetation damage also occurred downwind of the tank-car. No water pollution was reported in conjunction with the release.


Photo of Tank car AXLX1702 shell crack as found after jacket and insulation removal. 
Tank car AXLX1702 shell crack as found after jacket and insulation removal.
The docket includes NTSB investigative reports, interviews, loading records, maintenance records, inspection reports, and investigative photos.

The public docket contains only factual information collected by NTSB investigators, and does not provide analysis, findings, recommendations or probable cause determinations. No conclusions about how or why an accident or incident occurred should be drawn from information contained within the docket.

The docket opening marks a transition in the investigative process where the majority of facts needed for the investigation have been gathered.  Opening the docket affords those with a need and desire for its contents the opportunity to review what factual information has been gathered about the accident. Additional information will be added as it becomes available. 

Analysis, findings, recommendations, or probable cause determinations related to the accident will be issued by the NTSB at a later date.

The docket is available at

The preliminary report, a related news release, and other material are all available from the accident investigation page.

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Contact: NTSB Media Relations
490 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20594
Terry Williams
(202) 314-6100