Oil trains: track inspection finds "critical defects" on North Country line

North Country Public Radio | March 18, 2015 | Report by Brian Mann

Governor Cuomo's office said the latest round of rail safety inspections revealed "critical safety defects" on sections of track in New York State used by crude oil tanker trains.

A train of oil tankers. Photo: Russ Allison Loar, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Many of those problems came on a stretch of track running between Washington and Saratoga Counties.

Since a crude oil train detonated in a small town in Quebec in 2013, state officials and the Federal Railroad Administration stepped up inspections of rail tanker cars and the tracks in New York. The latest round of scrutiny came last week and uncovered 93 minor defects and seven critical safety defects. The New York State Department of Transportation said that means they have to be fixed right away.

Three out of seven critical safety defects found in North Country

As part of that process, a Federal track inspector examined thirty five miles of track and switches between Fort Edward in Washington County and Burnt Hills in Saratoga County. According to a statement issued yesterday, the inspector found three critical defects — described as missing bolts in rail joints — which were immediately repaired by a Canadian Pacific crew.

According to the report, eleven non-critical defects were also found on that stretch of track, including loose and missing switch bolts, and fouled ballast. 

In a statement, Governor Cuomo blasted Federal officials again for what he called "the current lack of tough regulations" on oil train shipments. "This latest round of inspections shows that our efforts are making a significant difference when it comes to protecting New Yorkers," Cuomo said.


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@PAUSEnergy tweeted this page. 2015-03-21 00:50:52 -0400
PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy posted about Oil trains: track inspection finds "critical defects" on North Country line on PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy's Facebook page 2015-03-21 00:50:52 -0400
Oil trains: track inspection finds "critical defects" on North Country line
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.