INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 21, 2014, 09:38 PM

Railroads hauling crude oil have committed to beefing up inspections

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - Railroads hauling crude oil have committed to beefing up inspections on their tracks, and slowing down in major metro areas, which doesn't include Fargo-Moorhead or Casselton.

By: WDAY Staff Reports , WDAY

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - Railroads hauling crude oil have committed to beefing up inspections on their tracks, and slowing down in major metro areas, which doesn't include Fargo-Moorhead or Casselton.

Local mayors say these changes are a good start, but there is still a lot more that needs to be done.

The Association of American Railroads, or AAR, made the announcement today that oil train speeds would be cut to 40 miles per hour while travelling through major metro areas.

Starting March 25th, railroads will conduct additional inspections on routes that carry crude oil.

Local mayors say it's a good start, but much more still needs to happen.

Slow down, and inspect more.

Those are among the commitments railroads are making to try to prevent more fiery oil train accidents like the December 30th derailment in Casselton.

Mayor Ed McConnell says that's great to hear.

Ed McConnell/Casselton Mayor: "I'm glad they're doing more inspections, we need it. The tracks are heavily used."

But McConnell says he has some concern that smaller communities like his might not be a priority.

The AAR has promised to slow trains to 40 miles per hour through major metro areas.

With a population of 2500, Casselton is far from a major metro area, but that didn't stop a major disaster from striking nearby.

McConnell: "I'm a little concerned about not being considered big enough to worry about, but I'm sure they are worried about their route times as well."

But 22 miles East, Fargo-Moorhead isn't on the list of slow-down cities, either.

They were determined by a list designating "high-threat" urban areas, including the Twin Cities.

Del Rae Williams/Moorhead Mayor: "We aren't over 40 anyway. Most of are in the 20s."

In fact, BNSF says its "key trains" carrying volatile substances like oil travel at max speeds of 35 mph through Fargo and 40 mph through Casselton.

Overall, local mayors say these safety measures are a good start.

Williams: "This is great for the country, but we need more in Moorhead."

McConnell: "I would like to see them address the cars. There are so many of those old cars that just aren't the safest thing in the world.">

A few more changes that the AAR committed to by April 1st, crude oil trains will have more effective braking systems, and later this year they will use special software to determine the safest routes to transport oil.

But like mayor McConnel said, none of that addresses the construction standards of the actual oil cars.

Tags: