December 16, 2017

Train Derailments

Three recent train derailments in Wisconsin has focused political attention on expediting safety upgrades in the rail road industry.

Political leaders in Congress and in several states want to see upgrades to rail cars and rail tracks. Additionally, safety advocates are calling for more training for local responders at train accident sites, greater public access to industry safety records, and more government oversight.

An accident occurred last week in Alma, involving a spill of 18,000 gallons of ethanol which flowed into the Mississippi River. The tankers in this accident reportedly were part of a class that were scheduled to be phased out for tankers with more safety features. This accident was followed the next day with one in Watertown which resulted in crude oil spilled, forcing an evacuation of 35 homes. The tankers involved did have some enhanced safety features. A third accident, also in Watertown, involved a small derailment but no spillage of hazardous materials.

According to news reports, the tanker cars involved in the spill near Alma are DOT-111s. These cars have not been upgraded with safety features carried on the newer CPC-1232s tankers. The new tankers are designed stronger to contain crude in the event of an accident.

The U.S. Department of Transportation had announced regulations earlier this year to implement stricter safety standards for tankers. Tankers in the Watertown accident were the older DOT-111 model that had been upgraded with heat shields but still fell short of the strictest safety standards.

These latest accidents are part of series of rail accidents throughout North America that have safety advocates calling for more stringent safety measures to be enacted.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) has been pressuring the House and Senate conference committee to include safety reforms as part of a final transportation bill that offers new safety measures, better communication between first responders and railroad companies, and transparency. Sen. Baldwin’s original safety proposals were not included in the final version of the safety bill.

Experts have cited that railroad infrastructure are deteriorating at a time when railroad use has been rising, particularly with shipping oil from North Dakota to various markets around the country.

The Association of American Railroads, however, has argued that the rate of train accidents are down significantly, 79% from 1980 and 42% from 2000.

Despite this decrease accident trend, there had been more crude oil spilled in rail accidents in 2013 than in the past 37 years. In some cases, such as Quebec in 2013, 47 people were killed after a spill of 1.5 million gallons of crude oil that was transported from North Dakota. The same train had passed through downtown Milwaukee.

The Alma accident was the third derailment on the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife Refuge in the last nine months alone, raising environmental concerns as well.

Amtrak derailment crash in Vermont injures 7, no deaths

October 8, 2015
Amtrak Crash Attorney

An Amtrak passenger train traveling from Vermont to Washington, D.C. derailed near Northfield, VT at about 10:30 A.M. on October 5, 2015. Seven of the 102 passengers were injured. Fortunately, there were no deaths in the crash. All injured passengers have now been released from the hospital. According to initial reports, the train derailment was […]

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Philadelphia Amtrak train crash was preventable

May 13, 2015
Amtrak Crash Attorney

The Amtrak train derailment this week near Philadelphia was at least the eighth derailment this year in North America and appears to have been preventable. The train’s data recorders, the equivalent of an airline black box, have been recovered and shed light on how the accident occurred. It now is believed that the train was […]

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Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia injures 50

May 12, 2015
Amtrak Train Accident

An Amtrak train has derailed and crashed this evening near Philadelphia, PA. Initial reports are that at least 50 of the 240 passengers and five crew members onboard have suffered injuries of varying severity. The train, Amtrak train 188, was headed toward New York City from Washington D.C. when the derailment occurred. It was scheduled […]

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Feds predict 10 fuel-hauling train accidents per year for decade

February 25, 2015
Train Derailment Lawyer

The Department of Transportation has reviewed the risks of moving crude oil and ethanol via railway across the US and through major cities. The study, completed last July, estimates that trains carrying these fuels will derail approximately 10 times per year over the next decade. These derailments could cause billions in damages and possibly kill […]

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Train derailments cause oil spills, lawsuits hold railroads liable

February 24, 2014
Train Derailment Crash Lawyer

Railways transport approximately 1 million barrels of crude oil each day in the U.S.. This number is expected to increase to 4.5 million barrels a day in the next ten years. Since 2008, there have been 10 derailments that have spilled at least 3 million gallons of crude oil and resulted in fires and explosions. […]

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Union Pacific train had signal to stop before Missouri crash

June 10, 2013
MO Train Crash Lawyer

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is continuing its investigation into the May 25, 2013 collision between a Union Pacific train and a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train in Chaffee, Missouri (MO). The crash caused several rail cars to derail and careen into the supports of highway overpass that subsequently collapsed. The preliminary NTSB […]

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Missouri railroad crash causes train derailment and collapsed bridge

May 28, 2013
MO Train Crash Lawyer

In Missouri, a Union Pacific (UP) train collided with a Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) train at about 2:30 A.M. Saturday over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The crash caused several cars to derail and careen into the support pillars of the Highway M overpass in Scott County, MO. No one was seriously injured in […]

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Dozens injured in California truck-train crossing accident

October 20, 2012
California Amtrak Train Accident

About 39 passengers were injured earlier this month when a semi tractor-trailer truck collided with an Amtrak train near Hanford, California. The truck, carrying cotton trash, failed to yield and was struck by the passenger train around noon Monday, October 1, 2012. Of the 169 passengers aboard the train, 19 had minor injuries and 11 […]

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Chicago Metra train derailment lawsuit settled for $1.8 million

October 2, 2012
Thumbnail image for Chicago Metra train derailment lawsuit settled for $1.8 million

A Chicago woman and the railroad Metra have settled her personal injury lawsuit against the rail line for $1.8 million. Kathryn Kuk, age 54, was riding on a commuter train in Chicago’s South Side when it derailed on October 12, 2003. Her multiple injuries from the crash have necessitated two lower-back surgeries, according to her […]

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Amtrak trains crash and derail at California station, 18 injured

October 18, 2011
Thumbnail image for Amtrak trains crash and derail at California station, 18 injured

An Amtrak train crashed into another at the Jack London Amtrak station in Oakland, CA on October 12. Both locomotive engines derailed and eighteen people were injured in the crash. The accident occurred when the San Joaquin train from Bakersfield to Oakland ran a red light at the station and hit the stationary Coast Starlight […]

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