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FRA needs to investigate rail safety in New York state, Sen. Clinton says


Following Monday’s CSX Transportation train derailment and liquefied petroleum gas explosion in Oneida, N.Y., Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Boardman calling for a statewide investigation of rail safety.

Clinton expressed concern about a series of recent train accidents in New York. In early December, two train derailments occurred in Cheektowaga and Buffalo; in mid-January, another two trains derailed in Maspeth, Queens, and East Rochester.

“[Monday’s] accident should be a wake-up call,” Clinton said in the letter. “We cannot continue to treat these derailments as isolated incidents. I urge you to launch a full investigation of railroad safety across the state to prevent the next derailment before it occurs.”

The FRA previously announced plans to investigate railroad safety in Erie and Chautauqua counties.

“In light of [the] incident, I ask that you expand this investigation to include all of New York,” Clinton wrote.

The FRA is conducting comprehensive accident investigations, performing a safety review of western New York railroad bridges and scheduling an automated track inspection vehicle to inspect track across the state this spring, said Boardman.

"I am committed to taking all necessary action to determine why these train accidents happened and will assess penalties against those who violated federal rail safety regulations," he said. "I have also asked the FRA regional office to expedite our investigations into CSX accidents in New York so we can use the findings to guide our next actions to prevent future accidents from occurring."

The FRA recently released preliminary 2006 safety data showing total train accidents occurring in New York decreased 16 percent to 89 compared with 2005’s 105 accidents.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/14/2007