U.S. Senator, Federal Investigator Hitting the Brakes on Recent New York Train Accidents
By Gerri Elder
A recent New York train derailment, which resulted in the explosion of railcars carrying propane gas and the evacuation of certain residents in Oneida, has prompted one U.S. Senator's ire and a federal investigation into CSX Corp. tracks.
A CSX freight train carrying liquid propane and other chemicals from Buffalo to Selkirk derailed when traveling through Oneida at seven on the morning on March 12th. Specifically, 28 of the train's 80 cars went off track, setting off a huge fireball in the sky and burning propane tankers throughout the morning.
Amazingly, no personal injuries were reported from the accident or chemical exposure. Officials declared a state of emergency for a half-mile area around the accident and most of downtown Oneida, which has a population of 10,000, was evacuated.
In addition to sparking the huge fireball in the sky, this New York train accident set off the fuse of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. The Senator from Brooklyn immediately called out CSX Corp. and other railroad companies in a report detailing 527 upstate New York train accidents in the last seven years.
Schumer then said that he will propose legislation which would increase penalties for negligence and toughen penalties for railroad companies. Schumer cited his concern about recent CSX Corp. train accidents in the last couple of months.
Prior to the incident in Oneida, CSX Corp. had witnessed similar New York train accidents in December of last year and mid-January.
. An Observer-Dispatch story detailed how a CSX train carrying canned vegetables derailed on an overpass in Cheektowaga in December, leaving one car dangerously hanging over the edge of a bridge.
. 13 cars on a CSX train left the tracks on in East Rochester on January 13th. Unlike the unlucky number of this date, CSX Corp. was lucky that no personal injuries were sustained.
Citing such accidents, Schumer also blamed federal regulators for not doing enough. He added that his legislation would call for millions of dollars which would be used to improve railroad infrastructure.
Oneida Train Accident, Schumer's Harsh Words Prompt Federal Investigation
Nearly a week after this train accident in Oneida, federal railroad administrator Joseph Boardman announced that a specially-designed train would investigate more than 1,300 miles of track owned by CSX Corp. Boardman added that the investigation would determine whether the two CSX rails are level and whether the widths between tracks is acceptable.
Echoing sentiments shared by Schumer, Boardman said in an Observer-Dispatch story that a safe railroad does not begin and end with a safe track. He specifically said that railroad companies have to take more responsibility in promoting a better safety culture and restoring public confidence.
NY Train Accidents Have Been at the Center of Recent Controversies!
It's been a long couple of months for New York railroad companies. As previously detailed here at Total Injury, the Long Island Rail Road and its parent company Metropolitan Transportation Authority were taken to task by a Newsday investigation detailing gap-related train accidents during the last 30 years. After a Minnesota teen was killed during a gap-related train accident this past summer, Newsday investigated these types of incidents during the last couple of decades and discovered some quite disturbing details.