Railroads, US DOT agreement on oil train safety concerns

Posted at: 02/21/2014 3:51 PM
Updated at: 02/21/2014 5:53 PM
By: Bill Lambdin

ALBANY - Once again Friday afternoon, railroad cars were parked along the fence, within a few feet of units at the Ezra Prentiss homes in Albany's South End.

Many are the DOT 111 cars that are prone to rupture when derailed.

Last year in Quebec 47 people died in that type of explosion.

Residents and elected officials are worried the same thing could happen in Albany.

So the A P's report that the railroads have agreed to slow their trains, increase track inspections and bolster emergency planning but not change the large use of the vulnerable 111 cars does not ease local concerns.

"We have a meeting scheduled next week and a meeting the following week with some of the representatives from DEC to better educate the people of what this all involves," said Albany Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin.

By telephone, Sandy Steubing of People of Albany United for Safe Energy said she is concerned that the 65-thousand vulnerable cars will take many years to replace.

Steubing also speculated that huge amounts of foam would be needed in an explosion, much more than she believes area responders could supply and that a transportation company would declare bankruptcy and walk away if a major accident occurs in this area.

U. S. Senator Chuck Schumer applauded the areas of agreement but vowed to continue applying pressure to get the vulnerable 111 tanker cars fixed or removed from service.