Thursday, September 11, 2014

CBR liability/ Rail Union rejects one-person train crews/ Poor rail service threatens economy

 The crude-by-rail explosion in Lac-Mégantic, Canada in 2013.

CBR liability: A trial lawyer’s perspective

Railway Age  Sept. 10, 2014
Written by  David B. Potter, Esq. and Marie L. van Uitert, Esq., Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly LLP, for Railway Age 
At an increasingly rapid rate, the surge in crude by rail during the past few years has spawned significant litigation risk for a broadening group of “target defendants.” That’s why it’s important for all entities involved in CBR to be proactive about mitigating such risk.
Tank cars have been moving hazardous and flammable materials for more than a century, resulting in numerous significant accidents, lawsuits, and payouts over the past few decades. However, in the past few years, movement of crude oil by tank car has increased dramatically and so have crude oil spills, including the tragic July 2013 Lac-Mégantic derailment in Quebec. This presents the question of whether crude by rail (CBR) is different in terms of liability risks, and if so, how? Our approach to this article is not regulatory or academic. It is a trial lawyer’s approach about the liability risks of CBR in the world of U.S. lawsuits, judges, and juries.

Additional risks of more here

Rail union members vote down BNSF proposal to cut train crew size

McClatchy Washington Bureau  September 11, 2014 

A tentative agreement to reduce train crew size on one of the nation’s largest rail carriers has failed, according to the labor union whose members voted on it this week.

The pact would have eliminated on-board conductors on 60 percent of BNSF Railway, which spans the western two-thirds of the country.

The vote represents a defeat for the railroad, based in Fort Worth, Texas, and owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffett. BNSF sought union approval to operate most trains with a single engineer on lines protected by Positive Train Control, a collision-avoidance system required by Congress in more here

Poor rail service threatens economy, shippers tell lawmakers

McClatchy Washington Bureau  September 10, 2014
  — Rail service backups from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest have the potential to slow the entire economy, several train-reliant industries told lawmakers Wednesday.

Representatives from grain producers and chemical and automobile manufacturers testified before a Senate panel that poor rail service has cost them business because they can’t get enough rail cars to move their products and then can’t get the trains to move fast more here

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