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.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Legislation by Senator Lois Wolk, D-Solano, to protect communities along rail lines secured passage from the Calif. Senate with a bipartisan 23-11 vote.

Senate Bill 730 requires trains and light engines carrying freight within California to be operated with an adequate crew size for public safety reasons.

“Today’s freight trains carry extremely dangerous materials, including Bakken crude oil, ethanol, anhydrous ammonia, liquefied petroleum gas, and acids that may pose significant health and safety risks to communities and our environment in the case of an accident,” Wolk said. “With more than 5,000 miles of railroad track that crisscrosses the state through wilderness and urban areas, the potential for derailment or other accidents containing these materials is an ever-present danger.”

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