Train Accidents

News & Analysis as of

Oil on the Rails: States Increasing Regulation of Oil Trains

The increase in North American petroleum production in recent years, coupled with inadequate pipeline infrastructure, has resulted in a significant rise of, and reliance on, the transport of crude oil by rail. Public...more

How safe are crude oil trains?

The North American oil boom has generated jobs, revenue and savings for consumers. As many people in Illinois know, it has also resulted in more oil-bearing train traffic....more

Recent Crude Oil Train Derailments Intensify the Spotlight on Rail Safety and the Value of Oil Pipelines

Few of us can erase from our memories the imagery of fires blazing at the scenes of crude oil train derailments in West Virginia in early February and in Illinois earlier this month. The fact that these trains carrying Bakken...more

State Regulators Are On Track To Improve Oil Train Safety

Our November 13 post noted that most of the crude oil from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota is shipped to ports and refineries throughout the United States by rail, typically in unit trains with one hundred cars or more....more

Falling Oil Prices Ignite Concern Over Bakken Crude

Happy Days Are Here Again? Gasoline prices have been falling steadily for months. Now a gallon may be purchased for substantially less than three dollars in many regions of the country. ...more

Environmental Groups Ramp-up the Crude-by-Rail Fight in the Courtroom

Bakken crude producers and midstream transportation companies already experience transportation woes related to inadequate pipeline infrastructure, railroad capacity, tank car supply, rail accidents, and new regulations. But...more

District of New Jersey Decision Denying Class Certification in Paulsboro Train Derailment Case Highlights Increasing Importance of...

The District of New Jersey’s recent decision in In re Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784 (D.N.J. Aug. 20, 2014), demonstrates the increasing importance of the implied requirement of ascertainability and provides guidance...more

In re Paulsboro Derailment Cases: Putting the Brakes on Defendants’ Momentum Regarding Recent Ascertainability Developments Within...

In a recent unpublished decision, Judge Robert B. Kugler of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey addressed the rapidly developing “ascertainability” requirement in class action litigation within the...more

State and Local Communities Respond to Crude-by-Rail Safety Issue

July 6 marked the one year anniversary of the crude oil derailment in Lac Megantic Quebec, which significantly heightened throughout North America the awareness about safety issues surrounding crude by rail. This heightened...more

Rail Corporation New South Wales v King [2014] NSWCA 207

The New South Wales Court of Appeal recently handed down judgment in the matter of Rail Corporation New South Wales v King. The facts of the matter are that at 3:00 am on the morning of Saturday, 2 September 2006, Shane King...more

California Legislators Propose Two Bills on Crude by Rail

Two measures have been introduced in the California legislature to respond to the growth of crude-by-rail volume in the state. State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) has introduced SB 1319, which would expand...more

Industry Group Study Says Bakken Crude Poses No Different Risks Than Other Crude Shipped By Rail

As rail shipments of crude oil moving out of North Dakota’s Bakken formation have risen in recent years, so have derailments of trains carrying crude oil throughout the United States and Canada. One facet of the debate over...more

Department of Transportation Issues Order Requiring Rail Carriers To Notify States of Crude Shipments

In response to recent derailments of trains transporting crude, the Department of Transportation issued an emergency order pursuant to its regulatory authority over the transportation of hazardous materials. The order applies...more

DOT Issues Emergency Order For Transport Of Crude Oil From Bakken Shale Region

On May 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an Emergency Order requiring all railroads operating trains containing bulk quantities of UN 1267, petroleum crude oil, Class 3, that either originates or is...more

With Increased Federal Scrutiny, State Governments Look To Expand Oil-By-Rail Oversight

With the federal Department of Transportation’s recent emergency order impacting those who transport crude oil by rail, state governments are likewise considering additional regulatory oversight that could affect the industry...more

Seventh Circuit Refuses to Review Arbitrator’s Decision to Allow Expert-Prepared Accident Report

Last week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division/IBT v. Norfolk Southern Railway Company, No. 12-3415 (March 11, 2014)....more

Congress Probes Crude by Rail Safety Developments; Voluntary Industry-Regulator Agreement Addresses Safety Concerns

Federal regulators and representatives of the rail and petroleum industries testified before a Congressional panel on February 26, 2014 on emerging safety regulations for transportation of crude by rail. Recent derailments...more

Attorney hopes Lac-Megantic victims will get compensation next year

The attorney shepherding through bankruptcy the Maine railway blamed for one of the worst rail disasters in Canadian history hopes to start getting victims some monetary compensation early next year, he said Thursday....more

Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway rehiring workers thanks to $3 million loan

Thanks to a recent $3 million loan, workers are being rehired by the bankrupt railway that owned the runaway train that devastated a Canadian town, killing 47 people, the railway’s court-appointed trustee said Monday. ...more

Oil Transportation Safety under Scrutiny by the Federal Railroad Administration

The United States Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced in a July 29 letter to the American Petroleum Institute that it is investigating the safety of transporting crude oil by rail, citing potential safety issues...more

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