CSX Rail Cars in Mayfield
On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, Fredericksburg City Council unanimously passed Resolution 21-14 "Objecting to Storage of Rail Tanker Cars with Hazardous Materials in the City of Fredericksburg, and Demand CSX Discontinue the Practice Now."
The City of Fredericksburg has been served by passenger and freight traffic on rail lines owned and operated by CSX or its predecessors for many years. CSX also maintains a rail yard in the Mayfield neighborhood of the City. The City has endeavored to be a good partner to CSX whenever issues arise associated with the presence of rail lines and operations in the City.
The storage of rail tanker cars, with hazardous and flammable contents for unspecified periods of time, in close proximity to homes on Railroad Avenue, has been an issue of serious concern to the City and the residents of the Mayfield neighborhood in recent years. Much of the last decade was spent advancing persistent demands by the City that this potentially hazardous situation be addressed by CSX. With the involvement and support of the Commonwealth of Virginia, CSX finally constructed a storage rail spur at a further distance from homes.
However, the practice of storing tanker cars on the main line along Railroad Avenue, with unknown contents and for unspecified periods of time, has resumed. Last night City Council resolved the following:
- It re-states and confirms its position that the practice of parking tanker rail cars with hazardous contents and for unknown duration in the vicinity of the Railroad Avenue residential area creates serious and legitimate safety concerns for nearby residents, the residents of the larger Mayfield neighborhood and the City as a whole;
- The Council thus confirms its previous strong opposition to this practice;
- And, the Council demands that CSX immediately discontinue prolonged storage of all tanker cars with hazardous materials along Railroad Avenue, and asks that they come to detail their plan to the community near-term.
In an effort to ensure transparent communications on the activities that the City and others are undertaking we have published a timeline of efforts:
Updated April 2, 2021
The City of Fredericksburg again met with CSX representatives and Mayfield Civic Association representatives on March 19, 2021. The City asked that CSX offer a written update to the community monthly moving forward, and the April 2021 version of their update is here.
The City of Fredericksburg appreciates the increased communication and the willingness of CSX to meet on site, but we continue to object strongly to the stacking of hazardous materials in our community. Fredericksburg’s Fire Department continues to monitor daily activity and is reporting weekly to City Management on hazardous tanker car counts on site. Additionally, the City has access to video footage of the train yard as an additional means to review activity on the rails adjacent to Mayfield.
Counts by weekly total for propane (LPG) in the rail yard are as follows:
- 2/26/21 23
- 3/5/21 30
- 3/11/21 42
- 3/19/21 85
- 3/26/21 60
- 4/1/21 20
The City of Fredericksburg remains steadfast in its opposition to storage (even if less than 48 hours) of this hazardous material in the our community. This report will be shared with our federal delegation next week in a written update. We will pursue federal intervention that leads to alternative storage of hazardous materials further away from residential areas.
We have also been working to update our emergency evacuation plans with CSX, and that document will soon be shared with the public.