Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NJ House rep seeks more rail oversight

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NJ House rep seeks more rail oversight Ed Hille/Philly.com

Rep. Robert E. Andrews (D-N.J.) has introduced a bill calling for independent oversight of railroads and particularly railroad infrastructure, arguing that U.S. freight railroads aren't pursuing adequate safety measures.

Andrews, accompanied by local officials, announced his measure publicly in the borough of Paulsboro, N.J., on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, near the site of a Conrail train derailment on a bridge over Mantua Creek on Nov. 30, 2012, that included the release of vinyl chloride into the atmosphere.

Andrews said his bill would require rail bridges to be inspected by independent engineering firms at least once every two years, and bridge switching systems to be inspected every six months.

"The one industry in our country that is self-regulated is the freight rail industry. This needs to stop," Andrews said.

More than a dozen lawsuits reportedly have been filed against Conrail and its Class I parents, CSX Corp. and Norfolk Southern Corp.