NS Freight Train Derailment 'a Wake-Up Call' for Tougher Safety Rules
Labor unions have described the derailment of a Norfolk Southern (NS) train near Pittsburgh last month as a wake-up call for stronger safety measures and increased regulatory oversight. The NS train, with three locomotives and 150 rail cars, derailed on 3 February, with 38 rail cars coming off the rails, including 11 carrying hazardous materials: five were loaded with vinyl chloride, a flammable and highly toxic chemical; the others carried highly flammable liquids. The ensuing fire damaged another 12 rail cars, and the area had to be evacuated. The Railroad Workers Union said “risky practices” were part of railway culture and contributed to the derailment, including longer and heavier trains, excessive cuts in maintenance and operating personnel, deferred maintenance, long working hours and limited on-the-job training. Much of the criticism has been directed at ‘precision railroading’, which has produced significantly higher profits for the Class I railways, but has been fingered as the cause of poor service and performance, as well as an increase in accidents. Read More Read Even More
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