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Water Main Suspect in Train Crash

July 25, 2001|From Associated Press

BALTIMORE — Federal investigators pored over city records and examined a century-old cast-iron pipe Tuesday to determine whether the derailment that paralyzed Baltimore was caused by a burst water main.

City officials insisted that it was the train wreck that caused the water main to break.

The question of which came first will determine whether the city or the CSX freight railroad is responsible for paying for the damage, the cleanup, business losses and overtime for police and firefighters.

"It's clear that there's a lot at stake," said Tony White, spokesman for Mayor Martin O'Malley. "It's premature to say how much, but it's safe to say it's of a very large magnitude."

The National Transportation Safety Board was reviewing city records to help learn whether water gushing from the broken main damaged the track in the 1 1/2-mile tunnel and caused the 60-car CSX train to derail last Wednesday.

The derailment caused a fire and an acid spill that brought much of the city to a standstill.

The NTSB sent a pipeline specialist and a metallurgist to examine the 40-inch water main, which lies directly atop the tunnel ceiling.

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