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Sen. Warner, stakeholders discuss crude-by-rail safety at Virginia summit

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) held a roundtable discussion yesterday with representatives from the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, CSX Transportation, and various state and local transportation and public safety agencies to address ways to improve crude-by-rail safety.

Warner scheduled the meeting in the wake of a CSX derailment that occurred April 30 in Lynchburg, Va. The 105-car train originated in the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and was handed off to CSX in Chicago en route to Yorktown, Va. About 17 cars derailed, several of the cars carrying crude caught fire and three cars tumbled into the James River.

Warner thanked the first responders in Lynchburg for containing the damage and preventing injury after the derailment. With a drastic increase in crude-by-rail volumes, the nation needs new safety standards, he said in a press release.

"We need a comprehensive approach with input from local stakeholders and government officials to improve resources for first responders, as well as a greater focus on prevention," Warner said.

CSX helps train first responders and aims to keep local officials informed of hazardous material movements, said Bryan Rhode, the Class I's regional vice president of state government affairs in Virginia, adding that safety is the railroad's first priority.

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