Wednesday, February 12, 2014

BNSF engineer trainee lauded for fast response to CBR wreck

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
Geoff Andersen, a BNSF locomotive engineer trainee, has been credited with preventing the spread of fire and explosions that occurred shortly after a BNSF crude oil train wrecked in Casselton, N.D., in December 2013.

According to a report published in the Grand Forks Herald newspaper, Andersen donned firefighting gear borrowed from the Casselton Fire Department to uncouple 25 crude oil cars that had not exploded from the wreck. A BNSF locomotive was able to haul them away. The wreck occurred when the CBR train hit cars from a grain train that had derailed on an adjacent main line track.

Andersen, who resides in Grand Forks, N.D., is a former firefighter at Grand Forks Air Force Base. He said he worked with Casselton Assistant Fire Chief Adrian Kieffer to develop the plan.

Andersen was praised by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.Dak.) for his successful efforts to move the remaining oil cars to safety. In a Feb. 10 speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Heitkamp said the nation should develop rules and regulations necessary to increase train safety, but it should also recognize “the importance of skillful and well trained railmen on the lines.”