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Meeting To Create Safer Railroads, Safer Communities - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Meeting To Create Safer Railroads, Safer Communities

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Concerns linger after the whole nation heard about the massive train derailment in Casselton. Today, city officials, State Representatives, and United States Senators sat down with members of BNSF to prevent another derailment and train crash.

The Casselton Mayor, Ed McConnell, says he didn't even know what a DOT-111 tank car was until they sent balls of fire in the air near his town.

"It's a question of trust," Says Mayor McConnell, "And I mean you know, my town, we don't trust you guys anymore, and it's going to take a while to get that back."

The BNSF Executive Vice President, Rodger Nober, says, "In our company safety is the highest priority 2013 was the safest year ever."

US Senator Heidi Heitkamp stresses everyone at the table is happy no one got hurt.

Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker says, "Our residents in our community are concerned, and they should be." But now many are questioning when it will happen next.

"One or two might be coincidence," Says Senator Heidi Heitkamp, "Four is there's something there, and let's find out what it is."

Since 2005 there have been 4 train derailments in the same stretch of track near Casselton.

BNSF Transportation Vice President, Dave Freeman says, "One of which I would be forced to admit was an inspection miss, ties in a road crossing that lead to wide gage."

Senator John Hoeven asks, "Given the number of derailments in that area what special action are you taking to address it?"

"We have improved," Freeman responds, "Increased the amount of inspection activity to ensure we don't have misses similar to that in the future."

Fargo Mayor Dennis Walker says like any goal there needs to be short term and long term solutions.

"We maintain the highest level of training," says Nober, "And maintenance of our lines, and we think that's going to contribute to the safety going forward."

They are on the same track to make the railroad and this community a safer place. This discussion of railroad safety is far from over, Senator John Hoeven is pushing for a meeting between the railroad members and the community of Casselton, once the investigation is complete.

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