F-M Community Leaders Talk Railroad Safety Efforts

Train accident rates have continued to go down every year since 1980.

The Minnesota Regional Railroads Association held a conversation with the public about railway safety.

Railroad 101.

It’s a place where people have the chance to learn and discuss all things railroad.

“Particularly at BNSF over the last ten years we’ve reduced the number of mainline derailments by 50%,” said Amy McBeth with the BNSF Railway Company.

It’s been almost four years since the oil crude train explosion in Casselton.

“It was like five days since I was officially mayor right?” said Moorhead Mayor Del Rae Williams. “After that, they have really stepped up to the plate.”

Since 2013, the city and the railroad have an ongoing dialogue on issues like railroad maintenance causing road closures.

That’s why the mayor values these community conversations.

Railway officials inspect 60,000 trains every year.

BNSF officials shared with the public their efforts on preventing accidents before they happen.

“We have increased our safety efforts through some of the stricter operating procedures that we have talked about through increased inspections,” McBeth explained.

In the last two years, BNSF has spent $700 million on infrastructure and safety efforts on railroads in Minnesota.

McBeth says the ongoing maintenance is key to how they are operate.

“Our focus is always, has always and will always be on safely moving the commodities that Minnesota and North Dakota uses and getting those to markets around the world,” said McBeth.

Because many railroad employees live in these areas, it’s important to the organization that the community is involved.

“We’re in this together,” said Mayor Williams. “So if something does happen, the two entities need to work together.”

The BNSF Railway moves nearly 19 millions tons of agricultural products out of North Dakota each year.

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