Train Derails In Lynchburg, Massive Fire Erupts, "Flames Stories High"

Tyler Durden's picture

In what can only be explained as a massive oil pipeline derailment, because trains are obviously so much safer when transporting flammable commodities, moments ago another train derailed in Lynchburg, Virginia with numerous railcars falling in the river, and a massive fire erupting with flames that are "storeys high" according to ABC13. And moments ago it was also announced that the train belongs to CSX and the burning product is, expectedly, crude oil.

Additionally, it appears that the CBTX on the side of the train cars indicates they are associated with CIT Croup/Capital Finance.


Click on the image below for the Live webcast:


Some more photos from the scene of the accident:


CSX CEO Michael Ward spoke with FOX Business Network’s (FBN) Liz Claman about CSX’s train car derailment in Lynchburg Virginia. Ward said, “we are deploying all of our resources for three primary purposes; one to support the local emergency responders, and secondly to protect the community and the citizen injury, and finally to protect the environment.” Ward went on to say, “we are actively engaged with the emergency responders” and that “We’re setting up a community response center at this point and we’ve deployed both external and internal environmental experts to the scene.”


On the CSX train car derailment:

"As you noted it just happened a little over an hour ago, so there is not a lot of detail. What we do know is a unit hall train and it was headed to Yorktown, Virginia derailed in Lynchburg at least one car is on fire as the report we have. What I can tell you is we are deploying all of our resources for three primary purposes; one to support the local emergency responders, and secondly to protect the community and the citizen injury, and finally to protect the environment. So we are actively engaged with the emergency responders. We’re setting up a community response center at this point and we’ve deployed both external and internal environmental experts to the scene.”

 On railroad regulations:

 "We as an industry, we as a company, are in favor of tougher tank car standards. To be honest and forth right with you. We don’t own the cars, they are either owned by customers or leasing companies. But we do think there are some improvements that can be made.”

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fonzannoon's picture

Thanks again Uncle Warren. Die already.

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

No shit. Too bad there wasn't some sort of method whereby large steel tubes could be welded together in a long line allowing this cargo to flow a little more say, not on rail cars.



CrashisOptimistic's picture

FYI guys, there is some shit going on with this stuff, and I type the rest of this without knowing what oil source was in this particular train.

Bakken crude is alleged to be ALL CRUDE.  It's not.  There is lighter liquid coming up.  IT'S NOT BEING SEPARATED.  They count it in their ballyhooed production announcements.

The big oil boom ain't that big.

The relevance?  That lighter, more gaseous stuff ignites at a lower temp.  Most of these train explosions trace down to that.  There is a huge effort underway to try to claim the railcars themselves are "not up to standards", but they ARE up to standards . . . for crude's ignition temps.  The problem is what's in these cars is not that ignition temp.

The refineries pay less for Bakken crude than other crudes, though there is a rush to blame that on "transport costs".  The people who know have vested interest in keeping their mouths shut.

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

Are you talking about distillate? There is high demand for it and it fetches alot of money. The discount waxes and wanes. With the speed at which alot of these wells bleed off I'm not sure you'll ever see lots of gathering systems like we build in Alberta. The oil boom is big, the only question is how long it can be sustained.


The Phu's picture

After this morning's extremely robust GDP growth number, a rip-roaring +0.1% growth, we can only conclude that President Obama's economic policy is an utter train wreck.

Speaking of train wrecks, Obama's insistence on delaying the Keystone Pipeline (which, ironically, would like spur economic development), has led to yet another train wreck... Oh, the unfortunate irony!!! Please pass me some more hope and change.

Troll Magnet's picture

EVERYONE IN NYC EVACUATE NOW!  Your building might collapse!  There's a train on fire in Lynchburg, Virginia!!!

moonman's picture

Don't you mean "shelter in place?"


James_Cole's picture

^ truth bitchez

And someone already pointed out above what this shit is they're actually transporting...

Also, worth pointing out that the pipelines will not replace the rail lines. 

Matt's picture

And train wrecks tend to get noticed quickly, rather than months after the fact.

Canadian Dirtlump's picture


there is no reason pipeline spills should not be noticed right away and minimized in all cases with proper use of emergency procedures. end of story. the fact that the likes of cheyney helped embed corruption and poor practice in the industry doesn't mean that it can't and shouldn't be done safely. In working in the pipeline industry for over a decade I know of 3 spills from our the lines we've built ( hundreds of miles worth) and only 1 had a material release of oil - this was because the mongoloids at the oil company did not set the high and low pressure shutdowns which speaks to my point ( all were caused by the oil company or their rep using either pipe or gaskets which were of incorrect specification for the product they were used for).


Regarding that article a couple of germane points in it:


  • The Paris-based energy adviser also said that the risk of a train spill was six times greater than a pipeline incident over the period between 2004 and 2012.
  • The analysis of the eight-year period didn’t include a spill of 715 barrels of crude from a derailment in Minnesota in 2013 that was more than double the amount spilled by trains in the previous four years, according to the report.( LOL ).
  • finally - The group said that first-quarter figures imply that the volume of crude shipped by rail in the United States is about 680,000 barrels a day, or almost 10 percent of total production.

With respect to the hysteria about distillate - it is a hydrocarbon product that especially in gas wells is vital in having the well pat for itself, and it has to be moved to process and sell - it is a vital and in demand product.


One final thought on pipelines versus trains - I would rather see a pipeline 3 feet below ground blow in a farmers field than I would see a fucking city get leveled by a train blowing sky high.

James_Cole's picture

the fact that the likes of cheyney helped embed corruption and por practice in the industry doesn't mean that it can't and shouldn't be done safely. 

If the world were a different place, it'd be a different place, thanks captain obvious. Hows about we stick to facts instead?

Regarding that article a couple of germane points in it:

The Paris-based energy adviser also said that the risk of a train spill was six times greater than a pipeline incident over the period between 2004 and 2012.

This actually works against your position........

Here's a more comprehensive piece:

Once again, pipelines spill more than rail. 

 I would rather see a pipeline 3 feet below ground blow in a farmers field than I would see a fucking city get leveled by a train blowing sky high.

Out of sight out of mind lol. As long as we don't see zee spill it's s'all good! No damage done. I say fuck the farmers, what do we need them for anyway? Friggin useless. 

And I think there may be regulations on rail and certain substances.....

Flakmeister's picture

You are confusing condensate with distillate....

Distillate is "heavy" end of the light end of refinery output i.e. diesel/heating oil. Condenstate are typically the lighter hydrocarbons, mostly pentanes, propane, butane, ethane etc. It can either be associated with an oil well (lease condenstate) or an NG well (wet gas vs dry gas)...

StychoKiller's picture

Only if you gots some scissors wit ya!

Seer's picture

Stay away from cars numbered "7!"

Flakmeister's picture

Please do explain how Keystone stimulates economic growth...

We are all ears...

Seer's picture


Govt + big business figures out how the work contracts are split up.  Those at the top get their big slice (Uncle Warren's counterparts on the "other team") and a few flag-waving Haliburton-like employees get to buy a few more trinkets to stuff into their caves/garages.  And the Canadians get to pocket a few more fiats so they can put it in some trust fund to clean up the mess that they're making.  It all works out perfectly!  Just need to bump off some Bundy-types who are in the way of the pipeline...

SWCroaker's picture

Well.  May I suggest you start with Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, and the twin concepts that 1) most advances in human standard of living have come from the "productivity" gain of lower transportation costs, and 2) sometimes the immediate higher cost of infrastructure installation pays for itself over the long haul by lower operating costs and lower risks.

Or if that was too much: a (long term) cheaper and safer method of transporting what must be transported should result in more money in many individual pockets, and therefore the masses of people rejoice.   See?  It isn't about the jobs associated with building a pipeline; it is about garnering benefits from the most cost effective, low risk, method of transporting oil.

Seer's picture

Great, from people who continually chastize the "educated" then turn around and embrace the "educated" when it suits them.  There's a word for that...

According to Adam Smith was an:

"Scottish social philosopher and political economist"

Smith was NOT a mathematician NOR a physicist or geologist.  And was he even a simple "economist?"

Smith never considered:

Jevons Paradox

Finite planet

Pimping all this shit missed the Big Picture, one that Smith had no clue about (if he had then he certainly would have paid attention to simple math).  And speaking of Smith, he said a LOT of things, many that we've been violating for a LONG time and yet no one bothered mentioning them (only when it comes to some ideological head-banging does he get pulled in, and, well, it's kind of hard to not look better than the other "ugly horse at the glue factory," but that doesn't mean that you're getting out of the glue factory).  Here's a couple fun ones he warned about: 1) Only countries on the same economic level/footing should trade; 2) Countries should NOT trade like-goods (no US cars to Germany and no German cars to the US).  So, either you pick and choose over the things Smith said and take them all, or you select and choose based on what YOU want/see, which is NOT what Smith advocated.

malek's picture

Ouch, that's like declaring supply and demand never consider(ed) Finite planet

Matt's picture

Please prove that pipelines are safer.

Sure, for the first 40 years, pipelines, like nuclear reactors, tend to work well. Then the company skimps on maintenance and there is a leak, which floods a few hundred acres of suburbia, or breaks in the middle of nowhere and goes undiscovered for a couple months.

The less popular but probably better solution would be for residential areas not to be next to railroads and industrial parks.

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

I'm not sure how dumb someone would have to be to think that the operator of a pipeline would let a leak continue for months. What you say is essentially science fiction. Around here all pipelines and facilities have operations staffs on site every day, and many of the oil companies have planes that fly their lines.


Forget about the fact that if suddenly at the end of the line the pressure drops or the quantity of product falls off a cliff it is a slight clue something is wrong. Stick to writing romance novels because what you say makes no sense.


As far as skimping on maintenance there is no excuse for not constructing and operating lines properly and regulations ( and penalties ) should bear that out. The fact that they often don't is an indictment on the political corruption - not the process.

James_Cole's picture

Around here all pipelines and facilities have operations staffs on site every day, and many of the oil companies have planes that fly their lines.


Here's a partial list of recent fuck ups:

estrategy's picture

Better data at if you want to research pipeline accidents.  

Flakmeister's picture

Actaully it helps to know the rules and guidelines before concluding anything...

What Keystone enables is that refiners on the Gulf Coasts can replace some fraction of the sour heavy imports from Vza. and re-export the distillate in a sweet heart tax deal deal...

They can arbitrage the crack spread as dilbit/WCS from Canada which trades at a ~$30 discount to WTI whiile having similar refining assays, i.e. distillate yields. Those distillates are destined for export with the profits being tax free (NAFTA and US Free trade zones). Read the Valero 10-Q from a few years back...

Long term job creation is next to nil...

It very well may raise gasoline prices in the mid-west...

It will not lower the price of gas or diesel....

A few fatcats get even richer and if anything goes wrong, say a big spill in the Ogallala, the loss is socialized...

Its is basically a multi-billion dollar Fossil fuel industry subsidy through the tax code and it is bullshit....

Comparing Warren with the Kochs is hilarious...

Berkeshire might make PV $200 million through rail shipments, the Kochs will pocket billions.... 

I say fuck 'em all... If they want to make more money, figure out how to do it to generate real longterm jobs...

QQQBall's picture

Lomg term jobs? That sounds expensive

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

For economic growth, I would think the engineering involved, all the material involved, the massive crews who do the work, the hotels they stay in, the restaurants they eat at, etc etc would "move the needle" as the retard talking heads like to say.


Certainly after it is done you have a mainetnance and operations compliment which would be a fraction of the aforementioned, but the project is shvel ready and big.


Should US taxpayers blow a few hundred billion more on green energy boondoggles which end up being dumpster dived by the chines for 10 cents on the dollar?

PowerPlayer's picture

Productivity and efficiency are key elements of economic grwoth, well unless you are obama.  Obama still thinks we would be better off if tractors had never been invented and 80% of our population still worked in the fields, but anyone that actually knows anything understands the importance.  Pipelines are much more efficient way to move liquids than by rail.  I guess this is the Obama jobs plan.  Why do something with one person when you can do the exact same thing with 10 people?  We are surrounded by geniuses.  

Seer's picture

"President Obama's economic policy is an utter train wreck"

Psst!  Look around the rest of the PLANET and you'll see that it's the same.  Just thought that you might want to expand your view a bit...

Speaking of dismal growth, WTF would it make sense, then, to make more oil available*?  People are fucking broke and in debt (and, well, all because Obama did something or other- I think he was also involved in decoupling the USD from gold and helping open up the exporting of jobs to China).

* Unless, that is, you are Haliburton or the Canadian govt (and oil business).

I'm NOT a supporter of Buffett OR Obama (or any politician/govt).

Matt's picture

The oil situation is really quite a predicament. If the price goes too high, consumption drops. If the price goes too low, CapEx investment shuts down, and then later on the price will climb, resulting in less consumption. 

It's going to take a few years for people to adapt and prepare for $200, or even $500 barrels of oil.

Seer's picture

Matt, the clear take-away is that we will have to, eventually, adjust to less oil/energy.  I always caution about pricing things as it's really about affordability: $30/bbl oil is still out of the reach of the majority of humans on the planet.

Matt's picture

A barrel of oil is approximately equal to 1-man-year of hard labour, working 10 hours per day, 6 days per week, 52 weeks burning 3500 calories per day.

There are definitely people who, if they could get the credit, could really make use of even a gallon of gasoline and make a pretty substantial return, particularly subsistance farmers. On the other hand, there are lots of cruise ships, jetliners and commuters out there, too.

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

Meanwhile oil has been rangebound for what 2 years? Screaming about apocalyptic oil prices has been like austin powers screaming at the steamroller coming at him at .2 miles per hour.

Seer's picture


And, unfortunately, we seem to not so good at actually identifying what the problem really is...

666's picture

Is this an accident or deliberate act? whenever Keystone is mentioned in the MSM, an oil train seems to derail and burn shortly thereafter.

Seer's picture

Well, you know, they'd never stop talking about something if it meant that it would be good for "us" (rather than their paymasters) :-)

CrashisOptimistic's picture

"boom" means lots of people are getting paid to scurry about.

What I am referring to is not distillate, but condensate.

The measurement of oil is API degrees.  Bakken averages 39, which WTI's avg, but it's not a comprehensive measure.  It gets to 39 with constituent parts lacking some important things. 

But that's not the point. The point is API 39 liquid is in those trains, for sure, but there is also API 50 stuff and higher than go in the truck at the well and gets hauled to the railcar.  That's clarification.  Of course there is "oil".  No one will lie that much.  But signif %s of the total liquid flow is not oil.  It's just counted as such.

HelluvaEngineer's picture

But Sean Hannity told me it was an economic miracle. Higher production than any other country in the world. Now I don't know who to believe anymore. *sniff*

NotApplicable's picture

Thanks for the info. I've been scratching my head at how volatile "crude oil" has become since it used to merely spill all over the place.

Seer's picture

Most of the volitility of oil is political.  As some astute people here are pointing out, the explosion/firely kinds of volitility have to do with refined products*.

* It's one reason why I gravitate toward diesel over gasoline.

taketheredpill's picture



Distillate? I'm LONG Jack Daniels...


DadzMad's picture

A family member is an oil geologist for 30 years and he's calling the Bakken to fall off hard by 2018-ish.  He's a contractor and they are a pretty tight knit group and talk amongst each other quite frequently.  He's got close friends working there whose picture aren't as rosey as everyone elses. 

He's home for a few months but has been working in Russia for the last few years.  That's a story for another thread.........

Ralph Spoilsport's picture

CSX train carrying crude oil according to a ZH tweet.

furgheddubouddit's picture

That train perfectly depicts the state of our economy.

Talk about symbolic....

Flakmeister's picture

I looked into that hypothesis, Bakken crude is legit crude oil with typical refining assays....

This was probably NGPLs (API>60) from the Utica or Marcellus shales. This conclusion is supported by the fact that CSX (eastern US) was the railroad.....

Now that stuff is definately more flammable than crudes...

Edit: Turns out it was regular Bakken crude not condenstate/NGPLs/LPGs....

Gunga's picture

Why is bakken oil being moved all over the country? Rail car, pipeline plans WTF ? Why not build a refinery near the North Dakota oil fields ?

Unless of course we need to get the North Dakota oil to the Gulf of Mexico so we can sell it overseas...

Matt's picture

Maybe a new refinery in North Dakota would never pay for itself, if the fields decline in production before it breaks even.