A Philadelphia City Council committee demanded answers from railroad officials about a recent train derailment at a hearing Wednesday.
In January, seven freight cars carrying crude oil and sand derailed on a bridge over the city’s Schuylkill River. No one was injured, but the accident shone a spotlight on CSX, which owns the structure.
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who represents parts of South Philly, said CSX’s 25th Street Bridge is literally falling apart.
“You have slabs of concrete falling, right, and you have in the wintertime icicles falling,” he said. “It’s putting people’s lives in danger.”
Quintin Kendall, a CSX vice president, said the bridge is structurally sound. But he admits that the company could do a better job in maintaining the external concrete.
“When I visited the 25th Street structure with Councilman Johnson today,” said Kendall, “it reinforced what we had been discussing for several months at CSX, that the structure clearly presents CSX with public safety challenges and we need to do a much better job at addressing those.”
A CSX contractor is removing loose concrete from the bridge now, and the company is looking at long-term repairs as well.
Kendall also said Philadelphia is part of a “rail renaissance” that is creating jobs and improving the country’s energy economy. But, he noted, “With this comes great responsibility. … We pledge to continually work to make CSX safer.”