safety_signWisconsin State Rep. Jill Billings (D-La Crosse) on Wednesday introduced legislation aimed at improving rail safety in her state.

Co-authored by Wisconsin State Sens. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) and Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon), the bill would provide for more state rail track inspectors; require railroads to submit prevention and response plans to the state; provide training for local emergency first responders along railroad routes; and create guidelines for coordination and response timelines in the event of a derailment.

Billings introduced the bill in the wake of two derailments in Wisconsin over the past week: a BNSF Railway Co. train derailed in Alma that led to an ethanol spill, and a Canadian Pacific train that derailed in Watertown, spilling hundreds of gallons of crude oil. CP determined that a broken rail caused the incident, the Associated Press reported.

Read more from Progressive Railroading.

Click here to read the full content of the proposed legislation.

Amtrak LogoA southbound Amtrak train derailed Monday morning in central Vermont after apparently striking a rock slide, officials said.

The accident occurred in the town of Northfield, about 10 miles south of Montpelier, the state capital.

A spokesperson for the Montpelier Fire Department said they had reports of four people injured so far after five cars derailed, two of which tumbled over a bank. There have been no reported deaths, the spokesperson, Lt. Dana Huoppi, said. A federal official told NBC News that none of the injuries so far appeared life-threatening.

Read more from NBC News.


MARYVILLE, Tenn. — A fire continued to burn Thursday afternoon at the site where a train car carrying hazardous material derailed and caught fire in eastern Tennessee, and officials said firefighters have been trying to keep neighboring rail cars cool as they make efforts to move them away from the flames.

At a 4:30 p.m. news conference Thursday in Maryville, Tennessee, Craig Camuso, CSX regional vice president for state government affairs, said firefighters are getting as close to the damaged 24,000-gallon tank car as they can, given the heat.

The derailment late Wednesday prompted the evacuation of thousands of people within a mile-and-a-half radius.

Read more from The Washington Post.

NTSB_logoWASHINGTON – As part of its ongoing investigation into the May 12, 2015, derailment of Amtrak Train 188 in Philadelphia, the NTSB today provides this update on the analysis of the engineer’s cell phone and related records.

The NTSB is conducting a detailed examination of the engineer’s cell phone calls, texts, data and cell phone tower transmission activity records from the phone carrier; and records from Amtrak’s on-board Wi-Fi system.

Analysis of the phone records does not indicate that any calls, texts, or data usage occurred during the time the engineer was operating the train. Amtrak’s records confirm that the engineer did not access the train’s Wi-Fi system while he was operating the locomotive.

To determine whether the phone was in “airplane mode” or was powered off, investigators in the NTSB laboratory in Washington have been examining the phone’s operating system, which contains more than 400,000 files of meta-data. Investigators are obtaining a phone identical to the engineer’s phone as an exemplar model and will be running tests to validate the data.

The engineer provided the NTSB with the passcode to the cell phone, which allowed investigators to access the data without having to go through the phone manufacturer.

Last year the NTSB lab processed about 80 personal electronic devices and more than 40 cell phones. The phone records analysis of the Amtrak 188 investigation has been more complicated than anticipated because the phone carrier has multiple systems that log different types of phone activity, some of which are based in different time zones. Investigators worked with the phone carrier to validate the timestamps in several sets of records with activity from multiple time zones to correlate them all to the time zone in which the accident occurred, Eastern Daylight Time.

NTSB’s Amtrak 188 accident webpage has links to all of the reports, videos, images, testimony and other related materials can be accessed:

Amtrak LogoAt least seven people were killed and over 200 people hurt after an Amtrak train, carrying 238 passengers and five crew members, derailed and rolled onto its side in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia Tuesday night, according to officials.

Police said Wednesday that seven people had died, after the death toll had risen to six earlier when Temple University Hospital officials confirmed one patient had died of their injuries overnight.

All seven cars of Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 derailed and came off the tracks near Frankford Junction on the 2000 block of Wheatsheaf lane shortly after 9 p.m., officials said. The train was heading to New York from Washington, D.C., and has six passenger cars as well as an engine.
Read more from NBC 10 news.
The SMART Transportation Division has dispatched members from the SMART Transportation Division National Safety Team to assist the NTSB in determining the facts related to the accident.

BNSF_Color_LogoValley View, Texas – A freight train has derailed in North Texas during stormy weather leaving 17 cars off the tracks and four crewmembers slightly hurt.

BNSF Railway spokesman Joe Faust says the derailment happened early Friday near Valley View, 50 miles northwest of Dallas. Four engines and 13 cars derailed.

Faust says the southbound train was hauling a variety of freight to the Fort Worth area, but no hazardous materials. Nothing spilled.

Read more from ABC-13.

CSX_logoRALEIGH, N.C. — A lawsuit filed Friday, May 1 by Amtrak and CSX alleges that a trucking company caused a March train derailment that injured 55 people by failing to take safety precautions or warn that the track was blocked.

The lawsuit in a Raleigh federal court blames Guy M. Turner Inc. of Greensboro for the March 9 crash in which an Amtrak passenger train collided with an oversized tractor-trailer.  

The lawsuit says the driver blocked the crossing in disregard of safety signs and failed to notify CSX, which owns the track, or Amtrak that the railway was blocked. It also says that the trucking company’s Turner Transfer division failed to take reasonable safety precautions.

Read more from the Winston-Salem Journal.

union_pacific_logoA November train derailment in the Feather River Canyon was caused by a broken rail, the Enterprise-Record has learned.

As Union Pacific Railroad prepares to replace more than 36 miles of track between Keddie and Lake Oroville, spokesman Francisco Castillo has confirmed a detail fracture caused by cracks led to the derailment of 12 train cars that tumbled into the canyon Nov. 25. The repairs are unrelated and were planned before the accident, Castillo said, part of a greater effort to improve rail safety as transport of crude oil continues to rise.

Read the complete story at the Chico Enterprise-Record.

oil-train-railA freight train loaded with crude oil derailed in northern Illinois on Thursday, bursting into flames and prompting officials to suggest that everyone with 1 mile evacuate, authorities said.

The BNSF Railway train derailed around 1:05 p.m. in a rural area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi, according to company spokesman Andy Williams. The train had 103 cars loaded with crude oil, along with two buffer cars loaded with sand. A cause for the derailment hadn’t yet been determined. No injuries were reported.

Read the complete story at ABC News.

The SMART Transportation Division’s National Safety Team has assigned one of its members to assist the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation of the crash and derailment of a Metrolink commuter train in Ventura County in California Feb. 24.

Twenty-eight people were injured, four of them critically, when the five-car Metrolink commuter train traveling from Ventura County to Los Angeles struck a truck on the tracks and derailed.

Safety Team Investigator Louis Costa of Local 1241 at Richmond, Calif., will assist the NTSB in determining the facts of the accident.

Safety Team members are selected by the SMART Transportation Division president based upon their knowledge of operating rules and understanding of general railroad operations, train movements and dispatching. When a major rail accident occurs, the NST coordinator immediately assigns one or more NST members to assist in the investigation.

The NTSB has sent a go-team to investigate yesterday’s accident in Oxnard, Calif. Robert Accetta is leading the team as investigator-in-charge. NTSB Board Member Robert L. Sumwalt is accompanying the team and will serve as the principal spokesman during the on-scene phase of the investigation.

A Federal Railroad Administration spokesperson said, “Federal Railroad Administration investigators are en route to the scene, and they will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the factors that contributed to this accident. Safety must be every railroad’s absolute top priority. We will establish what lapses, if any, occurred and order any necessary corrective actions.”