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"Synbit" culprit in CN's second Gogama conflagration
At first sight, the March 7, 2015 Reuters bulletin looked like an accidental re-filing of a three-weeks-old news flash: “A Canadian National Railway train carrying crude oil has derailed near…
PTC relief on the way?
The U.S. railroad industry has been scrambling since 2008 to meet the requirements of an unfunded federal government mandate—namely, having Positive Train Control installed and fully operational by Dec. 31,…
Supreme Court sends tax dispute back home to Alabama
In a case involving CSX Transportation, the United States Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, March 4, 2015 that the State of Alabama should be given the chance to justify a fuel…
Why bitumen isn’t necessarily safer than Bakken
The chain reaction fireballs that attended the Feb. 16, 2015 derailment of a CSX unit oil train in populated West Virginia probably blinded observers to the significance of the concurrent…
Foxx proposes rail transit state safety oversight
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Friday, Feb. 20, 2015 a proposed rule "to increase oversight responsibilities of State Safety Oversight Agencies (SSOAs) by replacing the existing outdated regulatory framework with…
Better rail safety? Buck stops with the Senate
Railroads live at the intersection of necessity and disaster—the disaster substantial when dangerous cargo goes boom, is accompanied by a highly visible fireball, or threatens human life through inhalation or…
Oil train mishaps reveal tank car strengths and limitations
Two same-day derailments of crude oil trains in Canada and a third in West Virginia two days later illustrate the strengths and limitations of the newest general-purpose tank cars plying…
Delaware green groups target CBR activity
Two environmental groups on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 sought legal advice from a Delaware Superior Court judge on a forum to appeal state action expanding crude-by-rail (CBR) activity in the…
Foxx talks tough on PTC
Testifying before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Feb. 11, 2015, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the DOT is “continuing to hold the industry’s feet to the fire…
Votes, media time, press clippings—or safety?
I never get tired of explaining the simple mathematics that govern safe train operations. The more thorough our grasp of the simple mathematics of time, distance, velocity, acceleration, coefficient of…
RSI-CTC to PHMSA: Stronger tank cars alone won’t do it
The Railway Supply Institute Committee on Tank Cars (RSI-CTC) on Feb. 6, 2015, released a statement regarding the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) draft rule on tank cars…
Can Sen. Thune mediate a rail/shipper cease-fire?
Could it be that Republicans in control of Congress might facilitate an end to three decades of productivity sapping legislative fisticuffs between railroads and self-proclaimed captive shippers over an appropriate…
The right equipment is not perfect equipment
After the most recent tragedy, and tragedy it is, on MTA Metro-North Railroad, U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) were interviewed by telephone.
AAR to Congress: Don't hurt private investment
Testifying on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 in Washington before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, Association of American Railroads President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger cautioned lawmakers not to tamper…
A second act at STB for Dan Elliott?
Proving once again he has more lives than cartoon character Wile E. Coyote, former Surface Transportation Board (STB) Chairman Dan Elliott is poised to receive his second White House renomination.…
Tank car safety, PTC on NTSB’s 2015 Most Wanted List
The National Transportation Safety Board has released it 2015 list of ten “Most Wanted” areas that require safety improvements. Six of the ten are either rail specific or multi-modal; four,…
Greenbrier lauds NTSB on tank car safety focus
The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. announced its support for the National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, for NTSB's placing tank car safety on its "Most Wanted List of…
Passenger trains: Between Barack and a hard place
Only a damned fool would beg Congress for passenger rail funding, trapping in amber the status quo. With tax-and-spend hostile Republicans in control of the House and Senate until at…
BNSF pauses on tank car purchase
BNSF Railway is taking a second look at an earlier plan to purchase up to 5,000 tank cars for hauling oil products, following feedback from some of its customers, according…
STB: Massachusetts can buy short line assets
The Surface Transportation Board on Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014 gave preliminary approval to Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to acquire "certain physical railroad assets" from Canaan, Conn.-based short line Housatonic…
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