Crude Oil Unit Train Bound for Key East Coast Rail-to-Barge Hub in Yorktown Derails and Explodes in Lynchburg, Virginia

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Genscape PetroRail Report to Monitor Ongoing Impacts; New Albany Crude Price Assessment Available Now

A 105-car CSX unit train transporting Bakken-origin crude to the Yorktown crude-by-rail terminal in Virginia has derailed and exploded in the town of Lynchburg, Virginia. Some three to four rail-cars were seen off the track and on fire shortly after the accident, while crude oil was burning on the surface of the James River after the derailment. (Reuters, April 30, 2014

CSX confirmed the accident and said that no injuries had been reported, although nearby residents and businesses have been evacuated. The railroad also confirmed that the train was travelling from Chicago to Virginia and that 15 rail-cars had been derailed. The accident happened at 2.30pm Eastern time on April 30, 2014. According to reports in the rail community, the route number of the train involved in the accident was from Illinois to Yorktown.

It is not yet clear what specification of tank-car was being used for the shipment. The accident is the latest in a number of serious accidents befalling crude-by-rail shipments in North America over the past year and comes at a time when the specifications of tank-cars are coming under close scrutiny from regulators. The Canadian government last week announced the compulsory phasing out of older crude tank-cars within the next three years, with some required to be phased out immediately (Government of Canada, April 23, 2014, The U.S. government is expected to outline similar tank-car regulations in the near future, amid much industry speculation as to the likely length of the phase-out period for older tank-cars in the U.S.

The recently opened Yorktown crude-by-rail terminal is owned by Plains All American Pipeline and is on the site of a former refinery, with a rail unloading capacity of around 140,000 barrels per day.

According to data received by Genscape radio monitoring, the Yorktown facility received some seven unit trains of crude oil last week and has received some 48 unit trains of crude so far this year.

The new facility is one of several key East Coast outlets where crude shipments can be transferred from rail to ship or barge and from there on to refineries along the East Coast.

Genscape’s PetroRail Report subscribers receive updates and analysis on the latest developments in the tank-car and crude-by-rail sector. Additionally, the PetroRail Report now includes a proprietary assessment of the Albany Crude Price in an effort to provide transparency into the physical crude markets for light, sweet Bakken-origin crude oil moved by rail into this key unloading terminal. To request a free trial, visit

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Genscape is the leading global provider of real-time data and intelligence for commodity and energy markets, driven to improve market transparency and efficiency. With thousands of patented monitors strategically deployed worldwide, Genscape is unique in its ability to collect and report proprietary market fundamentals in real-time or near real-time. Genscape delivers innovative solutions across a number of asset classes including: Oil, Power, Natural Gas and LNG, Agriculture, Petrochemical and NGLs, Maritime, and Renewables. Genscape clients often gain first-mover advantage, improve risk management, or increase operational efficiency. For more information, please visit:

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