Wynooche rail bridge
By Samantha Wohlfeil The Bellingham Herald October 10, 2014
BP Cherry Point has announced its rail terminal will no longer accept or unload any Bakken region crude oil from pre-2011 standard tank cars.
By the first week in October, the facility had stopped using older DOT-111 cars for crude, BP spokesman Bill Kidd said.
After several high-profile derailments in the last year, groups concerned about the safety of oil trains have rallied around a call to have companies trade in all old DOT-111 rail cars, which are used to carry a variety of hazardous and flammable liquids, for higher standard cars, like the CPC-1232.....
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New York state transportation officials said this week they do visually check hundreds of railroad bridges each year, but have no plans to broaden their effort to include hands-on inspections.
Railroad bridge safety has become an issue throughout the United States, driven largely by a huge increase in the volume of volatile crude oil being shipped by rail. There have been several high-profile derailments of oil trains over the last several years, resulting in fiery explosions and, in one case, mass casualties.
Locally, citizens focused attention on the issue when they complained about a 107-year-old CSX Transportation bridge in the village of Pittsford, saying rusted-through holes, missing bolts and cracked concrete make it appear unsafe. There are numerous other railroad bridges of similar vintage in the Rochester area...... read more here
A plaintiff who sues BNSF Railway Co. for personal injury could be in for a tough courtroom battle.
Charles Shewmake, BNSF's vice president and general counsel, said that since 2008 the railroad's approximately 40-attorney law department has taken a more global approach to personal injury litigation. If BNSF recognizes it has liability for an injury, the company is willing to settle, but otherwise it will take the case to trial and appeal if necessary, he said.
Shewmake said BNSF, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, has increased the number of personal injury suits it takes to trial from about 10 a year to a high of about 50 a year. "We can say authoritatively that BNSF is trying more personal injury cases than the rest of the railroad industry combined," he said.
Shewmake said around 2008 that he and Roger Nober, BNSF's executive vice president for law and corporate affairs, came up with the idea that the railroad should take a harder line approach to personal injury litigation. The law department had gone through a leadership change and Shewmake, a 1990 graduate of Texas Tech University School of Law, had become the general counsel.
Also around that time, BNSF was facing multiple personal injury suits that had been filed earlier by residents of Somerville, a small town located about 90 miles northwest of Houston. Plaintiffs alleged in those suits that BNSF allowed the release of toxic and hazardous chemicals and other substances from a railroad tie manufacturing plant formerly owned by BNSF that caused them to contract cancer.....read more here (site requires registration)