Union officials say tougher inspection and maintenance standards for railroad
tracks could help prevent dangerous derailments of trains carrying crude oil.
While lawmakers and
regulators focus on the strength of oil tank cars and volatility of crude oil,
officials of the rail inspectors' union say track flaws and train speed can be
significant factors in accidents.
The focus should be on
preventing derailments, said Rick Inclima, safety director of the Brotherhood
of Maintenance of Way Employees.
"Let's see what we
can do to keep the damn trains on the track," said Inclima, a member of
the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee of the Federal Railroad Administration.
"When they come off the tracks, bad things happen."....
....Data from the railroad
administration indicates that 39 percent of the 1,220 train derailments last
year were caused by track flaws.
determine the state of track inspection and maintenance, and are allowed to run
trains at higher speeds by making inspection and maintenance standards more
stringent. Trains are barred from traveling faster than 10 mph on Class 1
track, which requires infrequent inspections and allows more flaws such as
defective ties and imperfectly aligned rails. On Class 5 track, with stricter
maintenance and inspection requirements, freight trains can travel up to 80
Zacks Equity Research
Freddie Simpson, president of the Maintenance of Way
Brotherhood, which represents about 35,000 workers who inspect and maintain
railroads, said higher safety standards are key to reducing track-caused
derailments. The union wants tracks used by oil trains maintained one track
class higher without an increase in speed, or train speeds reduced to that of
the next lowest class, and also wants faster repairs of defects with lower
speeds until they are done..... ... more here
In a bid to promote rail safety, the Canadian government has issued an emergency directive to railroad operators. The government has directed the concerned companies to ensure that their trains which carry dangerous goods like crude oil and ethanol slow down in urban areas.
The directive, which is operative til Aug 17, 2015, requires the trains not to operate at speeds more than 40 miles/hour (64 kms) in highly urbanized places as opposed to the previous regulation which allowed such trains to travel at speeds of up to 80 km/hour.
The directive from the Canadian government has been necessitated by a series of derailments of oil trains. The government, in order to boost the safety of the Canadian Railway system, has called for more frequent inspections and assessments of risks pertaining to key routes that are frequented for transporting dangerous goods.... more here
4/26/15 WIFR.comROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Railroad union leaders are calling on congress to enact tougher safety standards to prevent deadly train derailments.
Last week BNSF Railway met with first responders in Galena, nearly two months after a fiery derailment. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos was also there to learn more about how the derailment was handled and what could have been done better..... more here