HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Investigators and cleanup crews reported significant progress Friday, four days after a $2.2 million CSX train derailment near Baltimore fatally buried two young women in coal.
As the National Transportation Safety Board wrapped up interviews with CSX workers, the family and friends of Elizabeth Nass mourned at a memorial Mass in Ellicott City, a couple miles from where the James Madison University student died.
Funeral services were planned Saturday for Rose Mayr, a nursing student at the University of Delaware. Police say the women, both 19-year-old graduates of a local high school, were sitting on the edge of a downtown train bridge when 21 cars derailed Monday night. The NTSB said Friday the cars derailed at 11:56 p.m.
The women had sent tweets indicating they were drinking and enjoying the summer night before going back to college.
The NTSB said in a statement it expects to complete the on-scene phase of its investigation in Ellicott City by Saturday afternoon. Investigators have inspected all related signal systems and rail equipment and expected to finish interviewing crew members, maintenance workers and track inspectors by Friday afternoon, the NTSB said.
Howard County authorities said Main Street would reopen Friday evening. The street is part of state Route 144. A nearly quarter-mile section running beneath the tracks near the Patapsco River had been closed since late Monday night.
CSX spokesman Gary Sease said the rail cars and the bulk of the coal had been removed by Friday afternoon.
Environmental sampling showed the ambient air quality within allowable limits and virtually no change in the river's water quality, he said.
"From our perspective, the cleanup has gone extremely well," Sease said in a telephone interview.
He said CSX expresses its condolences to the victims' families.
Associated Press writer Jessica Gresko in Washington contributed to this story.