CSX to Move Hazmat Tankers from Mayfield Neighborhood
Railroad tanker cars loaded with hazardous materials including liquefied petroleum, gas, ethanol and chlorine have for years been parked along a track in the CSX yard on Railroad Avenue, adjacent to the Mayfield neighborhood of Fredericksburg.
Finally, they are going to be moved.
CSX Regional Vice President Randy Marcus told City Council during their April 12 regular session the company has submitted plans to the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the state agency funding a portion of the project to build a 1.5 mile spur line for the tankers near the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds. Construction is expected to begin in July and be completed by December 2016.
“This particular track would take the tankers away form the homes to a better location,” Marcus said. The location was also chosen because it isn’t directly adjacent to tracks carrying trains north and south.
City Councilman Chuck Frye has made moving these cars a priority of his tenure. “Whichever way the wind blows, that area is affected — Stafford, Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg,” Frye said. “Breathing the fumes would wipe out half the city,” he said. “The public has to be aware of the danger.”
In 2010, Transflo Terminal Services Inc, a subsidiary of CSX, opened a transfer facility just over the city line in Spotsylvania County. The cargo is transferred to trucks for delivery in Northern Virginia.
Mayfield residents asked Transflo to remove the tankers from their neighborhood or build a barrier between them and their homes. In response, the company did switch to high capacity pumps for faster draining of the chemical to trucks, and arranged for more trucks to be waiting to move the chemical.
Then state Senator Edd Houck obtained $900,000 for Transflo upgrades and the spur construction. Bryce Reeves, who succeeded him in 2011, was instrumental in keeping the funds in the budget, Marcus said.
“Common carriers are requited to transport hazmat cargo, so we have a commitment by federal law to figure out the best way to manage these things,” Marcus said. “I can understand why there is a concern.”