A train that carries over three million gallons of Bakken crude oil regularly runs under downtown Seattle via a tunnel that is more than 100 years old. It also does not meet 21st century safety standards, according to Seattle city officials.
According to the assistant fire chief for the city, the large increase in oil shipping by rail creates new risks for the city. While the chance of a major spill and fire are small, if a spill occurred, downtown Seattle would have to be evacuated.
The city of Seattle does not have any authority over the trains or the tunnel. So, the city is pushing for tighter state and federal policies to mandate railroad companies to make safety upgrades, and to pay for it.
Officials say that the tunnel does not have fire suppression systems, emergency communications and built in ventilation among other things. So far, BNSF Railroad has put $10 million into upgrades in the tunnel, but more are required.
Our team of personal injury lawyers in Virginia has worked on many train accidents, and we are glad to see that more safety regulations are coming for oil trains. In a $60 million settlement, our team of personal injury lawyers proved that the railroad was negligent in a derailment that caused a severe brain injury to a worker at a gas station.
More safety regulations for railroad companies means a safer public, and that we always favor.