NYSDOT fining Canadian Pacific Railroad for failing to notify derailment (Video)

WTEN | May 12, 2014 | Column by Rachel Yonkunas

ALBANY, N.Y. – The New York State Department of Transportation will issue the maximum fine allowed under state law to Canadian Pacific Railroad for failing to report a derailment of crude oil train in Albany.

The four tank cars carrying crude oil derailed around 4:30 a.m. Monday at CPR’s Kenwood Rail Yard in the city. The derailed cars remained upright, and no oil was spilled.

The derailment was not reported to NYSDOT by CPR until 9:16 a.m. New York State Law states rail requires rail accidents involving freight trains carrying hazardous material be reported to NYSDOT within one hour of the accident.

Angela Scott lives next to the tracks. She was not aware of the incident until told by NEWS10 ABC.

“I’m totally shocked,” she said. “It’s almost eight o’clock at night, and I’m just finding out about it. It’s crazy. I’m ready to move out of here. I’m ready to move.”

The four tank cars that derailed were part of a train with 31 tank cars and one locomotive. The cars were carrying Bakken crude oil from North Dakota. The tank cars were not damaged; however, several wheels on the cars must be replaced because they contacted the ground.

The cars have since been moved back onto the tracks.

While nothing spilled, some residents were worried about what could have happened.

“We can’t stop a Fortune 500 company from producing what they produce, but do it in a matter in which it’s safe, it’s transportable, and let us know what’s coming in and out of our communities,” Charlene Benton said.

Inspectors from the Federal Railroad Administration and NYSDOT responded to the scene to investigate the incident. The inspectors believe the derailment may have been caused by a broken switch point, which is a narrow piece of rail that is guided between switch positions enabling a train to move from one track to another.

The maximum fine allowed per incident is $5,000. Governor Andrew Cuomo recommended the fine be raised to $25,000. But some residents don’t think that’s enough.

“The common sense thing is to not have it in our backyards at all, but because we’re talking about big oil and big government, everybody kind of throw up their hands,” Pause member Sandy Steubing said.


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PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE is a grassroots group of individuals who have come together to promote safe, sustainable energy and fight for environmental justice. We engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry’s assault on the people of Albany and our environment.