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Lincoln Brown

Lincoln Brown

Lincoln Brown is the former News and Program Director for KVEL radio in Vernal, Utah. He hosted “The Lincoln Brown Show” and was penned a…

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Oregon Looks To Ban Crude-Oil-Only Trains Following Derailment And Fire

Oil Train Derails

Oregon transportation officials are now calling for a halt of Union Pacific trains after a derailment on the third of June. Eleven cars from a 96-car train owned by Union Pacific that was hauling crude oil along the border of Oregon and Washington derailed, causing one of the cars to catch fire.

The Oregon Department of Transportation raised its concerns on Thursday to the Oregon Transportation Commission, in reference to this specific type of train—crude-oil-only—which is heavier than others and might be putting greater strain on the lag bolts that connect the rails and tracks. The Oregon Department of Transportation is requesting a moratorium on the train.

Union Pacific has blamed the accident on the failure of the bolts. At the time, the residents of Mosier were evacuated and 42,000 gallons of oil were spilled into the Columbia River. Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Administrator Hal Gard said that the bolts in question were rusted on both ends and had been sheared off before the incident.

Tom Fuller, the director of communications for ODOT said that without the bolts in place, the parallel rails could be pushed farther apart by the weight of the trains, which could cause a derailment. Fuller also said that the movement of the oil inside of the tanks may be a contributing factor as the oil shifts when the train is on a curve.

Crude-oil-only trains have been going through that particular section of the Columbia River Gorge for about two years, and transportation officials and state investigators are concerned that because the trains are heavier and shorter, they may be putting more pressure on the tracks, leading to broken bolts. Related: Expect Much Higher Oil Prices As The Cycle Comes To An End 

Fuller added that his agency and Union-Pacific tested the tracks for flaws, and those tests did not uncover any broken bolts. With that in mind, Fuller expressed concern that it is not known where else the bolts may have been used. Since the incident, Union-Pacific has increased the frequency of its inspections.

By Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • mchentrp on June 17 2016 said:
    There have been 690 vehicular accidents in Oregon this year to date. Most had one or more fatalities. Maybe we should also ban all vehicles from the roads, too?
  • John Smart on June 18 2016 said:
    I hope they were able to get all the 42,000 gallons of oil that were spilled into the Columbia River.
    Infrastructure like this as well as roads and bridges are in disrepair and need to be fixed or replaced. The lack of investment in infrastructure is going to cost a lot of money and lives as more and more catastrophes happen.

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