Following the fire disaster in Ohio in February, Southern’s safety culture was reviewed, and officials want to conduct similar investigations into all of the major freight railroads over the course of the following year.
A report on the findings made by investigators at Norfolk Southern following the disaster on February 3 — which forced the evacuation of half of East Palestine, Ohio — and many other recent derailments will be made public soon.
The collision at the Ohio-Pennsylvania line raised widespread concern about railroad safety and led to congressional reform proposals.
In addition to individual reports on Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX, Canadian National, and Canadian Pacific Kansas City, the Federal Railroad Administration’s Administrator Amit Bose recently stated in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that the agency will also create an industry-wide report on common problems and trends.
Railroad unions have expressed concern that operational modifications implemented by the railways over the previous six years have increased the risk of the trains that transport commodities of all types throughout the nation, including hazardous items.
The unions assert that the railways’ drastic personnel reductions and growing reliance on longer trains have raised the likelihood of safety issues.
They assert that preventative maintenance may be skipped, inspections are completed quickly, and workers are overworked.
The railways have defended their procedures and said that improving efficiency hasn’t come at the expense of safety.
The sector maintains that it is still the safest method for moving dangerous goods across land.
Legislators have urged Norfolk Southern and all the major railroads to do more, despite the fact that they have already disclosed a number of actions they are taking to increase safety.
According to federal authorities, there hasn’t been a sufficient change in safety data to demonstrate that the railways’ new operating model is risky.
The data does demonstrate that, despite a drop in the overall number of events as a result of railways moving less freight during the last ten years, the rate of accidents per million miles traveled by freight trains climbed from 15.572 to 16.695 last year
The safety of today’s lengthy trains, which sometimes cover distances of more than two miles, has also been a source of worry.
According to Bose, the FRA has advised railways to use caution while putting together lengthy trains to lower the danger of derailments.
Longer trains are preferred by freight railways because they can transport the same amount of freight with fewer personnel and engines.