N.J. bridge had alignment problems before derailment

A containment boom floated in Mantua Creek Saturday, near freight train tank cars that derailed on Friday.

Mel Evans/Associated Press

A containment boom floated in Mantua Creek Saturday, near freight train tank cars that derailed on Friday.

PAULSBORO, N.J. — A New Jersey bridge where a train derailed last week, releasing a hazardous chemical into the air, had a series of rail alignment problems leading up to the derailment, the National Transportation Safety Board’s top official said Monday.

Some of the problems were reported the day before Friday’s derailment.


NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman said her agency has a lot more work to do before determining the cause of the accident. ‘‘Nothing has been ruled out,’’ Hersman said.

And one important part of the investigation — a thorough inspection of the bridge and the derailed cars — must wait until crews can remove all the hazardous vinyl chloride from the area.

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

That work, too, paused Monday when vinyl chloride detection in the air nearby reached an unsafe level of more than one part per million around 6 a.m. Officials told residents of Paulsboro to shelter in place with their windows closed, canceled school, and pulled workers off the site of the accident.

There was an all-clear to go back outside around 11 a.m. and workers were immediately sent back to work on the site where the main priority is removing remaining chemicals from the ruptured tank car.

Associated Press

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of