“Sarah Feinberg, chief of the Federal Railroad Administration, said the agency is working hard to improve safety, but preventing accidents that result from defective track involves finding a needle in every haystack along thousands of miles of track.
“We have been incredibly lucky that the accidents have happened mostly in rural areas,” she said. “Some of them have been very close calls.”
The crashes have occurred as the nation’s railroad system is being asked to do more than at any time in history, putting additional wear and tear on the tracks. Since 2001, railroads have seen a modest 12% increase in the number of cars they haul, but a 24% jump in the more comprehensive measurement of cargo that looks at the weight and train mileage the system has to bear, known as ton-miles, according to industry data.
Though railroads have significantly improved safety in general, the oil train accidents are a worrisome trend in the opposite direction and not fully understood.”
Sacramento Bee article
Benicia city officials have concluded a proposal to transport large amounts of crude oil daily on trains through Sacramento and Northern California would create a “potentially significant” hazard to the public, but say a spill is probably only a once every few decades occurrence.
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article33004746.html#storylink=cpy
Exxon Mobil officials are seeking permission to truck the oil through Santa Barbara County after a ruptured pipeline sent oil spilling into the Pacific Ocean and brought the company’s oil transportation operations to a halt.
The US Department of Transportation on Friday issued a series of emergency orders, including a 40-mph speed limit for hazardous materials moving through urban areas.
The emergency rules also require railroads to provide detailed information about a shipment within 90 minutes of any derailment.