Oil train inspections turn up defects

Times Union | April 22, 2015 | Column by Matthew Hamilton

Recent state and federal checks of tracks and crude oil tank cars found 84 defects, including some in the Albany area, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said Wednesday.

Oil train cars in the Port of Albany on Wednesday April 22, 2015 in Albany, N.Y. (Michael P. Farrell/Times Union)

The inspections, part of a statewide effort, showed defects locally in the Colonie, Kenwood and Selkirk railyards and on tracks between Fonda and Rotterdam.

"These inspections are part of this administration's ongoing commitment to keep New Yorkers safe and ensure that crude oil cars and rail tracks that run through our state are kept in good repair," Cuomo said in a news release.

State Department of Transportation inspectors found 18 non-critical safety defects after checking tracks and 24 switches at Selkirk Rail Yard. Inspectors also found two critical defects — for fittings not being tool-tightened.

DOT and Federal Railroad Administration inspectors found three critical defects, including gage, tie plate and bolt defects; and 12 non-critical defects on tracks between Fonda and Rotterdam, Milton and Fort Montgomery, and in Kingston.

Six non-critical defects were found among 120 tank cars at Kenwood Rail Yard in Albany.

Inspectors found 18 non-critical defects after examining 180 tank cars at the Colonie Yard in Watervliet.

Tank car issues also were found at Frontier Rail Yard in Buffalo.

Critical defects must be addressed immediately, the governor's office said. Non-critical defects must be fixed within 30 days. Tank car defects must be fixed before the train pulls out of the yard.

"It is crucial that regulators be proactive and address issues associated with maintaining a tracks and rail cars used by crude oil shippers," Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said in a news release. "Even one critical defect could prove to be a major threat to the region given the massive amounts of crude oil being transported and being processed locally."


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commented 2015-04-28 17:09:39 -0400 · Flag
We will never be safe from the great quantity of explosive Bakken running through Albany. There will always be human error and mechanical failures but this stuff is so explosive that there can be no margin for error. The really stupid thing is we don’t need it – we can switch to renewables per the Jacobson plan.
PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy posted about Oil train inspections turn up defects on PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy's Facebook page 2015-04-28 13:50:10 -0400
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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.