Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, Engineering Editor RailwayAge
One of the trains involved in the June 28 head-on collision between two BNSF intermodal trains outside of Panhandle, Texas passed a red signal before the accident.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are on the scene today of a BNSF Railway Co. crude-oil train that derailed and caught fire yesterday morning in Heimdal, N.D.
The BNSF train consisted of 109 total cars, 107 of which were loaded with crude oil. Two buffer cars were loaded with sand. Six of the crude oil cars derailed at about 7:30 a.m., resulting in a fire and the town's evacuation. All other cars were pulled away from the scene to a safe distance. No injuries were reported, according to a statement issued by BNSF.
The tank cars involved in the incident were the unjacketed CPC-1232 models, which are among the tank-car models slated for retrofits or phasing out under new federal rules governing the safety of crude-by-rail transportation.
The FRA deployed a 10-person investigation team to the site. FRA Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg said the incident "is yet another reminder of why we issued a significant, comprehensive rule aimed at improving the safe transport of high hazard flammable liquids."
"The FRA will continue to look at all options available to us to improve safety and mitigate risks," Feinberg said in a prepared statement.
Meanwhile, eight U.S. senators yesterday sent a letter urging U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to immediately enact stronger disclosure requirements regarding shipments of Bakken crude oil. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced new regulations last week that included requiring railroads to share information on the shipment of crude oil with emergency responders.
"We call upon you to issue an emergency order that improves the process for providing detailed information on crude-by-rail movements and volumes to first responders, shifts the onus for information sharing onto the railroads and not communities, and allows for the continued public availability of broader crude-by-rail data on movements and routes,” the senators wrote.
"The final rule constitutes a setback on disclosure requirements that could hamper our first responders and negatively impact the safety of our communities. We urge you to promptly address these shortfalls, and look forward to your response,” the senators continued.
The letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
Mar 9, 2:46 PM (ET)
HALIFAX, N.C. (AP) — An Amtrak train hit a tractor-trailer that stalled on railroad tracks in North Carolina, toppling the engine onto its side and injuring several people, officials said Monday.
Halifax County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Bruce Temple said the accident happened around noon in the town of Halifax.
The first two cars of the train derailed after the collision, Temple said. The North Carolina Department of Transportation said in a news release that the other car that derailed was a baggage car.
Several people were hurt, though the transportation agency said the injuries were minor. The agency also said no deaths were reported.
It was not immediately clear how many people may have been hurt.
Sheriff's Major Scott Hall said from the crash scene that some passengers were taken to a local hospital by ambulance, but others were able to climb aboard a shuttle bus to be taken for examination.
The Amtrak train was the Carolinian, which runs between Charlotte, North Carolina, and New York each day. It was headed north to New York City at the time of the crash.
The News that's relevant to you.