The Friday derailment roundup


 Derailment after derailment. They just keep happening.

Over the past several years, 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.


New findings about Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia

Fifty-five seconds before the train crashed in May, it was traveling near or at full throttle, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Before hitting a curve in the tracks, the train was going 102 miles per hour, twice as fast as the 50-mile-per-hour speed limit.

Despite the speed, a toxicology report found that Brandon Bostian, the train operator, was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and was not tired or stressed while operating. After originally claiming to not remember the incident, Bostian now said he recalls feeling as if the train might be going too fast but he was not concerned.


Fewer coal carloads overall, but a good week

After a month and a half of coal shipments slowing down, there was a 4.4 percent spike at the end of January. According to the Association of American Railroads, U.S. railways carried 77,416 coal carloads that week. It’s still nearly 34 percent lower than last year.


Two railways announce they won’t meet positive train control deadline

Norfolk Southern and CSX announced on Thursday that they will not be able to meet the 2018 deadline for implementing positive train control. The companies applied for a two-year extension, stating they will have positive train control running by 2020. Positive train control, which was originally scheduled to be implemented by December 2015, utilizes technology to make trains safer, primarily by slowing the train as it approaches a curve.


Low oil prices harming Northwest market

Low oil prices in the Northwest have put oil terminals in a financial crisis. In Oregon, the owner of one crude oil terminal, Global Partners, is cutting its workforce in half. In Portland, a facility owned by Pacific Terminal Services lost its contract with Chevron, and subsequently, closed its doors. While current oil terminals are suffering, Washington has plans for a handful of new sites to transfer crude from trains to ships.

Reach PublicSource intern Lauren Rosenblatt at lhrosenblatt@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @LRosenblatt_.