Last week, The Gateway Pundit reported that the train that derailed in East Palestine on Feb 3 had what appeared to be an axle on fire for at least 43 minutes prior to the derailment. According to the NTSB, the train derailed at approximately 8:54pm.
The NTSB cites a video shared by several outlets, including The Gateway Pundit, in which a business’s surveillance camera caught the train with what appears to be either an axle on fire, or glowing red from heat and sparking. There isn’t a visible timestamp on the video.
Video Shows Norfolk Southern Train with Axle(s) on Fire Miles Before Derailment. Evidence Suggests at Least 40 Minutes Before Derailment
We are now able to report that, based on a photo a source tells us is the derailed train, the axles appear to be on fire as early as 8:13pm, approximately 43 minutes before the NTSB reported the train derailed.
A photo taken from a surveillance camera overlooking the tracks shows an obvious glow coming from around the axle area of the train. The video we posted earlier appears to show a fire much further up the rail car than the initial picture as if the failure had worsened suggesting the picture was before the CCTV video. That video was filmed at Butech Bliss in Salem, OH, about 20 miles from the site of the derailment.
The derailment is thought to be caused by a wheel bearing failure, as initially reported by the NTSB.
NTSB investigators have identified and examined the rail car that initiated the derailment. Surveillance video from a residence showed what appears to be a wheel bearing in the final stage of overheat failure moments before the derailment. The wheelset from the suspected railcar has been collected as evidence for metallurgical examination. The suspected overheated wheel bearing has been collected and will be examined by engineers from the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, D.C.
This raises serious questions about existing checks for catastrophic failures like this. There are reportedly “hot box detectors” placed periodically along the rails to check temperatures of critical components, including wheels and axles.
How long were the axles on fire in their entirety? Was the sensor properly functioning? If so, when was the crew alerted to this malfunction and what actions were taken? Are the frequency of the detectors an appropriate distance apart if they failed to detect a malfunction of this magnitude?
Hopefully the media will ask appropriate questions at tomorrow’s “RSVP only” press conference at 1pm.