INSPECTION FINDS SEVERAL DEFECTS WITH CRUDE OIL TANK CARS, RAILS THROUGH NEW YORK

ABC 7 News | March 17, 2015 | Report by Jim Hoffer

An inspection of crude oil tank cars and rails traveling through New York State has found 93 defects so far, and an accident could be catastrophic.

Just weeks after Eyewitness News exposed loose bolts and rotted rail ties on CSX tracks; the state reveals it's found dozens of track defects and some of them critical.

"This spike here is not where we want it to be," a track investigator said.

Just last month, Eyewitness News highlighted defects on the CSX rail tracks along the Hudson River, tracks that everyday carry the weight of millions of gallons of crude oil.

Tuesday, Governor Cuomo's office announced that inspections of tracks and tanker cars uncovered 93 defects including seven critical safety problems that needed immediate fix. Among the defects: thin brake shoes on rail cars to missing and loose bolts to rotted rail ties, all of which can make for unstable tracks.

"Causes rail cars to rock and roll so to speak and it could in dangerous situation cause a lift off and the car would derail," said James Sottile, a former FRA inspector.

Last month, a CSX oil train derailed in West Virginia causing an explosion that forced evacuations, a similar CSX accident occurred last April. The same shipments of crude oil now roll through New York and New Jersey communities and, as Eyewitness News documented, passing within 1500 feet of 55 schools. 

In the last 12 months, inspectors have found more than 1,000 defects in New York and that does not include rail bridges. 

Our investigation last December found several CSX bridges in serious disrepair. Eyewitness News also revealed there's little oversight of train bridges. That's left mostly to the rail companies which are required only to file a one-sentence letter to the state and federal government stating that all their bridges have been inspected and are safe. 

"Looks to me that system needs a lot more inspection than it's receiving," Sottile said.

In a statement sent to Eyewitness News Tuesday afternoon, CSX says their tracks are visually inspected several times a week and that their bridges are in compliance with all federal regulations.

The company says it invests more than one billion dollars in its railroad every year.

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INSPECTION FINDS SEVERAL DEFECTS WITH CRUDE OIL TANK CARS, RAILS THROUGH NEW YORK
PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE works to promote safe, sustainable energy and environmental justice.  We aim to engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry's assault on the people of Albany and our environment.