BNSF said Tuesday it was “extremely disappointed” by a news media investigative report questioning freight train security measures, as well as operations, in Washington state.
The report, issued Monday by Seattle’s KOMO News 4 TV and KOMO Newsradio, said its “Problem Solvers” team in essence found “so many Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway trains for the taking,” some idling for hours without any security presence nearby. KOMO also relied on two BNSF anonymous engineers who expressed concern over current operations and supposed lax safety measures.
KOMO also reported the “Federal Railroad Administration … has now opened a formal investigation into what the Problem Solvers found.”
In response, BNSF on Tuesday chastised KOMO for its “sensationalized accusations and exaggerated hypotheticals to attack rail safety and security. BNSF takes safety and security very seriously.
“The report failed to recognize that there are numerous ways to immobilize aparked train such as removing essential equipment, tying down handbrakes orisolating electrical fields on the locomotive.,” BNSF said in a statement.
BNSF said a voluntary audit for last Friday “found that every lead locomotive in the area was properly secured.” In addition, it said, “Most of BNSF’s high volume main line track is controlled by what is called Centralized Traffic Control (CTC). On CTC track, a train cannot move on the track, nor can a switch from a siding be thrown to allow a train to move onto the main line without the dispatcher seeing it on their computer screen.”