Railroad will repair tracks they failed to maintain – after the fiery oil train wreck

Chopper 2/KATU

Union Pacific Railroad said it will replace a type of bolt on its track that led to a fiery oil train derailment on the Oregon-Washington border, but the pledge failed to ease concerns in the tiny town where the wreck sparked a massive fire that burned for 14 hours.

Federal investigators in a preliminary report released Thursday blamed the derailment on Union Pacific for failing to properly maintain its track.

The report flagged broken lag bolts as the immediate cause and said better inspections would have caught the issue. The lag bolt is part of a fastening system that attaches the rail to ties. It prevents the rails from moving too far apart, which can lead to derailments.

Union Pacific faces potential penalties for safety violations, according to the Federal Railroad Administration report.

The document, obtained in advance by The Associated Press, came out a day after Union Pacific announced it would resume running oil trains in the Columbia River Gorge later this week.

The combined news shocked and angered residents in Mosier, a town of about 400 where the train went off the tracks. The June 3 derailment released 42,000 gallons of crude and prompted evacuations…

Advanced electronic brakes proposed by regulators but fought by the railroad industry could have made the derailment less severe, Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg said. They could have reduced the number of cars that derailed and prevented the one that first burst into flames from being punctured, officials said.

“We’re talking about upgrading a brake system that is from the Civil War era,” Feinberg said. “It’s not too much to ask these companies to improve their braking systems…”

Union Pacific said blah, blah, blah.

Oregon Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden asked federal rail regulators to use an emergency provision to stop oil train traffic until the derailment was better understood. Gov. Kate Brown also reiterated her call for a halt to oil train traffic.

People Before Profits ain’t exactly a slogan you hear repeated at a meeting of the Board of Directors of Union Pacific Railroad. Unless, of course, it’s shouted by a protestor just before being removed by armed guards.

3 thoughts on “Railroad will repair tracks they failed to maintain – after the fiery oil train wreck

  1. Nikohl Vandel says:

    and we don’t need people before profits, really, do we? since incorporation documents don’t need to make corporations benefit society in general anymore, their corporate structuring documentation laws need to balance that … again. When Delaware government began that “for investor’s benefit” language way back then, that’s when the first person said “help”! I like the balance of decision making #DavosPlanB presents as a standard for companies.

    After all, how is there really a profit with damage like this?

    • PintoGasTank says:

      Damage, schmage, it’s just part of the cost of doing business. What counts is the corporation’s cost–benefit analysis of the expected balance of benefits and expenses. Which means nothing changes until the status quo is actually threatened.

  2. gracie says:


    Loss not likely till insurer lawsuits for negligence finish wandering through our dynamic court system.

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