Schumer pushes for increased railroad communications

Train crash in Buffalo last year prompts latest call

Mike Baggerman
October 15, 2018 - 3:04 pm

Train Bridge in Buffalo. October 15, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - After a Canadian Pacific train crashed into a Main Street overpass in Buffalo on September 13, 2017 caused a scare for the local community, New York Senator Chuck Schumer visited the region to push for more communication between railroad companies and area municipalities.

The train struck the overpass and fell off the tracks. First responders did not have the knowledge of what was inside the freight cars, initially. No one was injured in the crash. 

"The freight train in the crash, thank God, was not carrying hazardous materials," Schumer said. "Had it been, it would have put the lives of our firefighters in danger. It would have put the lives of the many community residents in dangers."

Schumer previously required railroads to alert New York State about hazardous materials that are transported throughout the state. However, the railroads did not inform the local municipalities. Schumer wants the local cities, towns, and villages to be aware of the materials delivered via train.

The senator also wants railroads to provide additional information about hazardous materials and crude oil to New York State.

"They tell about crude oil, which they should," Schumer said. "They don't tell about many others: Radioactive waste...explosives, sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide, chlorine, peroxide. Those are regularly carried by trains going across these bridges but they don't get notification."

The senator said that there are less than ten federal railroad inspectors for all of the northeastern states and wants more inspectors hired. Schumer said he wants between 30 and 40 inspectors hired.

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