Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - An internal CSX accident report obtained by News4 Investigates shows a mechanical device designed to keep a train from tipping over was ultimately responsible for the Feb. 27 derailment in Berry Hill.

That derailment of six cars also tore apart the tracks and was dangerously close to where people parked waiting for the train to cross.

News4 Investigates also obtained video from a passerby that shows a flash and bump on the train just before the derailment.

That flash occurred right where the accident report shows the primary cause of the accident occurred.

The CSX report cites a code that translates to “side bearing had insufficient clearance” as the primary cause of the derailment.

News4 Investigates consulted with two train derailment experts on side bearings to understand how that mechanical device could be to blame.

Animation provided to News4 Investigates by one of our experts shows that the devices help balance the train when it rocks, keeping it from toppling over on uneven tracks or when in a train is taking a curve.

If a side bearing does not have enough clearance between the railcar and the base of the wheels, the experts said that it can lead to a derailment.

The CSX report also cites a narrative that is difficult to understand, writing, “Experience a UDE where the conductor discovered six cars derailed.”

News4 Investigates emailed CSX media relations and a spokesman, but neither responded for questions about their accident report or what “UDE” means.

However, in reviewing train accident abbreviations, UDE commonly refers to as “unintended emergency application of brakes.”

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