Another dramatic train crash and explosion has posed alarming questions about the safety of tanker cars on the railroad.
On this occasion, a BNSF train carrying crude oil in North Dakota collided with another train, setting off a series of massive explosions that left at least 10 cars ablaze.
Judging by the pictures from the scene, railroad employees were lucky to escape the blast without injuries.
Local residents reported five powerful explosions a mile outside of the small town of Casselton after a westbound train carrying soybeans derailed and an eastbound train hauling crude oil crashed into it, the Guardian reported.
The blast was so powerful it led to an evacuation of residents living within five miles of the crash scene. The incident once again raises concern about crude oil being shipped on the railroads. The video of the exploding railcars will add to the conversation about what fixes are needed as older train cars carry flammable fuels like oil.
The Association of American Railroads recently proposed fixes to older tank cars that fail to meet its latest standards but continue to carry hazardous fuels such as oil on the railroads.
The recent Canadian railroad disaster illustrated how dangerous fuel trains can be. In a blog in 2012, I wrote about how these fuel cars are a disaster waiting to happen.
A runaway train carrying fuel exploded in Lac-Mégantic in Quebec, killing 47 people in 2013. The Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway was shut down in the wake of the disaster.
Once again the fuel cars ruptured in a crash, causing a massive explosion. The fixes recommended by the Association of American Railroads include protective steel jackets on cars, thermal protection and pressure relief valves, which “could cost billions of dollars,” the Guardian reported.
After the Canadian rail disaster, the US department of transportation began an operation it dubbed Bakken Blitz, which includes spot checks of fuel shipments aboard trains in North Dakota.
If you have been injured on the railroads, you should contact an experienced Virginia railroad accident lawyer. I have taken on railroad cases across the country. Call 757.455.0077 or see Cooperhurley.com.