New Information On the Safety of BNSF in North Dakota - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

New Information On the Safety of BNSF in North Dakota

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We begin tonight with new information regarding the safety of North Dakota railroads. New information was just released from Senator Heidi Heitkamp's office today. The Federal Railroad Administration, or FRA, says in the last nine years four derailments have happened in Casselton, North Dakota. You likely remember the most recent case in late December when a derailed train hauling oil blew up after colliding with another train and made national news. Today Valley News team's Eric Crest shares the most recent information about the safety of North Dakota's railroads.

The Federal Railroad Administration says that four derailments have happened in Casselton, North Dakota in nine years. Now on average track inspectors in Cass County conduct about 3 switch observations every year to make sure things are operating correctly. But we still don't know if the derailment in Casselton was on the account of a faulty switch or not.

We do know that across North Dakota there have been almost 4 thousand track inspections since 2006. And that the FRA has cited BNSF railroads about 13 thousand times for defects in just nine years. They also wrote up about 700 violations in that time.

With this new information regarding just how safe North Dakota railroads are Senator Heidi Heitkamp's office is hoping there will be increased attention in Casselton considering the number of derailments in the area.

Across the state of North Dakota, there were only ten train car derailments in 2013. While over in Minnesota their were nearly 40. A BNSF representative told us today that they inspect their key routes and busiest tracks more than twice as frequently as required by the Federal Railroad Association and continually renew and upgrade their own infrastructure.

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