The Friday derailment roundup

Derailment after derailment. They just keep happening.

Since early February, there have been numerous 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.


Congress extends positive train control deadline

U.S. legislators voted this week to extend a deadline by three years for railroads to implement a train safety system. Positive train control is a system installed on tracks to prevent crashes and will automatically slow down or stop trains if a train engineer goes over a speed limit or misses a signal. Railroads have said for years that they couldn't meet the original Dec. 31 deadline and threatened to suspend service if the deadline was not extended.


Montana report finds crude-by-rail safety in state lacking

A new state audit found Montana has no active rail safety plan, employs only two rail inspectors and has a lack of statewide emergency planning and emergency response capability if an oil spill or explosion occurs on a train.


New York announces results of oil train safety checks

State and federal railroad inspectors found six "critical defects" that require immediate repair and another 80 "non-critical defects," which have to be repaired within 30 days, on rail lines used to ship crude oil in New York. The critical defects included a cracked or broken joint bar and missing bolts on a 60-mile set of tracks owned by CSX, according to The Albany Times Union. The railroad also operates crude oil trains in Pennsylvania.

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