Friday, May 16, 2014

Sometimes they just fall over

KIRO7 reports:

Feds will investigate three train derailments in Grays Harbor County

Eleven grain cars derailed near Montesano Thursday, just days after two similar spills in Aberdeen.
The first two derailments were caused by the failure of saturated railroad ties.  
The Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad is still trying to figure out what went wrong with the third train.
In an emailed statement, the railroad’s president, Joel Haka, said, “This string of low-speed derailments is not acceptable.” 
It's not acceptable to many Grays Harbor County residents either, like Montesano resident Tom Fredriksen.  He worries that crude oil tanker cars may someday run on the same track, the only track to the Port of Grays Harbor. 

Q13 Fox reports

Feds investigating string of train derailments in Grays Harbor County
“We will not move another train until this rail is safe,” said Haka.
Some neighbors worry about sabotage, perhaps an attempt to derail plans to transport crude oil on trains.
“Social media is blowing up with that,” said Katainen. “Everybody on social media is talking sabotage because of the whole oil thing.”
But police don’t think criminal activity led to the crashes, and railroad officials say the track would have to be substantially upgraded before any oil would move along these lines.

Railroad responds to recent Grays Harbor derailments

According to Michael Williams, Director of Corporate Communications for Genesee & Wyoming, he tells KXRO that “This series of minor derailments is a highly unusual, unacceptable occurrence and subject to a rigorous investigation. The first two derailments were caused by localized failure of railroad ties that were saturated with moisture from recent heavy rains. Other locations experiencing this issue have been identified and are being corrected prior to receiving another train. The cause of yesterday’s derailment is still being determined.“
“Safety is always our first priority, and PSAP will not run another train while we examine the recent track inspection results,” says PSAP president Joel Haka. “Any issues will be addressed prior to resuming service on the affected portion of the line.”

h/t Lyndon C.

Trains stop running after 3rd derailment
via The Daily World
Puget Sound & Pacific railroad has promised aggressive action to find out what caused a third train to derail near Montesano yesterday. An official called the three derailments in the area within 16 days “highly unusual and unacceptable.”Failed ties were found to be the cause of the first two derailments, and the railroad has found the issue in eight to 10 other areas of the track. Trains will not run until the ties are repaired, said Michael Williams of Genesee & Wyoming, PSAP’s parent company....With the number of recent derailments, some have questioned whether foul play might have been involved given the heated debate over crude-by-rail facilities proposed at the Port of Grays Harbor. Williams said the railroad does not suspect anything of the kind.“We don’t suspect any vandalism,” he said.

From facebook: Jim George
The Cities and the Port are saying they have no power. Not true in the case of the Port, as it is their land the oil is to go to. They, essentially, are enemies of sound oil policy so no real hope there. No one from any City Government I know of has been leading the fight in any significant way, (though thanks to Kathy Hoder for her statements last night).

That brings us down to the Governor and the Federal Government. The World op ed today rightly focuses on the Governor. He can do something, if he will. Currently he is not doing anything I know of and that is tacit support for the railroads. We need to switch him over to opposition. He needs to understand we will hold him responsible if he does nothing until it is too late.

Our Senators and Congressman are our strongest voices in the Federal Government that took all control over rail safety away from local governments and cave it to a railroad-controlled Federal Commission. That was a Federal action passed by the Congress. Right now our folks in D.C. are of the party of the President. They need to be held accountable for doing everything they can to prevent this disaster and know they will be held accountable when it occurs.

We need to focus on these 4 people.

Governor Jay Inslee, Office of the Governor, PO Box 40002. Olympia, WA 98504-0002 or call 360-902-4111 Fax360-753-4110 e-mail
Senator Patty Murray (D- WA) 202-224-2621 fax202-224-0238 or Senate Office Building, Washington D.C.
Senator Maria Cantwell (D- WA) 202-224-3441 fax202-228-0514
Representative Derek Kilmer (D - 06) 202-225-5916 fax202-226-3575 or House Office Building, Washington D.C. provides guidance on writing letters to Congress.

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