Thursday, November 27, 2014

State ‘Dodged a Bullet’ in Feather River Derailment

State ‘Dodged a Bullet’ in Feather River Derailment, OES Says

November 26, 2014, by Lonnie Wong,  Fox40

Union Pacific work crews continue to clear a 12-car derailment that dumped a shipment of corn into the Feather River.

The Union Pacific rail line along the Feather River is a major route for bulk goods into and out of California.  While the track has been cleared, train traffic is being held back periodically while the delicate clean-up process moves forward....

... corn isn’t the only freight that is hauled through the scenic canyon.

“In this particular case, we dodged a bullet,” California Office of Emergency Services Communications Director Kelly Huston said.

OES says two oil trains carry volatile Bakken crude oil through the Feather River canyon each week  a million gallons at a time.

It’s the same crude oil that has exploded into flames and polluted rivers in several train derailments over the past year and a half.

“As the train travels through the Feather River it eventually ends up in downtown Sacramento and into Stockton and into the bay area and it’s traveling through a lot of high population centers,” Huston said. “As it gets into high population areas it could also pose a threat if there’s a fire and explosion.”.... read more here

New Canada safety chief urges tougher oil-by-rail measures

Kathy Fox, new chairwoman of the independent federal agency, said Canada and the United States must agree on tougher standards for tanker cars that carry volatile fuels. Shipments of crude by train have soared over the past few years as oil output has increased while pipeline capacity has not....

... In July, the government said that the next generation of tank cars should be made of thicker steel and require full head shields.

Federal regulators in Canada and the United States are looking at how to fortify the 2011 standards but have not announced any new measures. The rail industry is deeply integrated across the two countries, making it difficult to make unilateral regulatory changes.

"Our concern is that the standards that are in place today (for transporting dangerous goods) are not necessarily rigorous enough and we want them to be strengthened," Fox said....  read more here

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