The Friday derailment roundup

Derailment after derailment. They just keep happening.

Since early February, there have been at least six train derailments in North America carrying crude from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale. These accidents have sparked increased calls from citizens, the rail industry and lawmakers for the federal government to increase safety regulations.

To keep up with these incidents and new safety regulations, PublicSource provides a roundup of stories every Friday.

Casey wants $1 million for more rail inspectors 

There's currently only one Federal Railroad Administration inspector to oversee 919 train bridges in Pennsylvania and a severe shortage of these inspectors nationwide, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., told reporters on a press call this week. Worried about crude oil train traffic on these bridges breaking down infrastructure, Casey has asked the federal government to spend $1 million to help hire more inspectors, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

 

U.S. issues new brake rules for oil trains

More than two years after a runaway train in Lac-Megantic plowed into the small Quebec town, killing 47 people, the Federal Railroad Administration is now requiring that two qualified railroad workers must set handbrakes and do other safety checks on equipment for trains carrying hazardous products, including crude oil, with more than 20 cars left unattended, according to Al Jazeera America.

 

Fire chief travels across the country teaching citizens how to prepare for crude oil train disasters

In the event of a large-scale oil train disaster, would you know what to do? John Malool, an occupational safety professor at Rutgers University and fire chief of Ridgefield Park, N.Y., is helping people who live in cities with heavy crude oil traffic prepare for potential accidents, according to KPLU News.

 

Eighty-six-year-old N.J. railroad bridge with heavy crude oil traffic to get upgrades

A deteriorating wooden New Jersey bridge is pegged for upgrades after months of outcry from local residents worried about increased traffic of trains carrying Bakken crude, according to NorthJersey.com.

 

Senate panel passes bill to lift 40-year U.S. ban on crude oil exports

A Senate panel approved legislation this week that would lift the ban on crude oil exports, which could increase crude oil train traffic, according to The Associated Press.

Reach Natasha Khan at nkhan@publicsource.org. Follow her on Twitter @khantasha.