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Gov. Wolf releases crude-by-rail safety recommendations for Pennsylvania


Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf yesterday released a report featuring 27 recommendations for improving the transportation of crude oil by rail across Pennsylvania.

In April, Wolf hired Allan Zarembski of the University of Delaware to examine crude-by-rail (CBR) safety issues in Pennsylvania and make recommendations for improvements. Zarembski is a recognized expert in the areas of railway track and structures, vehicle-track dynamics, failure and risk analysis, safety, railway operations, and maintenance.

Also last spring, Wolf urged CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway officials to adopt improved safety initiatives for crude-by-rail transportation, and wrote to President Obama to urge federal regulators to expedite CBR protections. Additionally, Wolf has directed the Pennsylvania Office of the Fire Commissioner to examine how an oil train fire could be extinguished to protect public safety. CSX and NS ship large volumes of crude oil through Pennsylvania.

"Every week, roughly sixty to seventy trains carrying crude oil travel through Pennsylvania destined for Philadelphia or another East Coast refinery, and I have expressed grave concern regarding the transportation of this oil and have taken several steps to prevent potential oil train derailments," Wolf said in a prepared statement.

Zarembski's report will be important in helping his administration take steps to improve CBR safety, Wolf said.

"I will also continue to work with CSX and Norfolk Southern, both of which have demonstrated concern for rail safety and an interest in working with my administration," the governor added.

Zarembski's recommendations are divided into primary and secondary categories. Primary recommendations are those expected to have direct safety results and can be implemented by railroads working with the Pennsylvania; secondary are those that are more difficult to carry out and may require action by parties other than the railroads and Pennsylvania.

Zarembski's report and recommendations are available via this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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