Federal Railroad Administration Issues Order to Stop Operation of Blackwell Northern Gateway Railroad in Oklahoma

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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Wikimedia Commons/Matthew Zisi

WASHINGTON, D.C. –– Today, the Federal Railroad Administration published an Emergency Order in the Federal Register that prevents operation of trains and other on-track equipment on the Blackwell Northern Gateway Railroad (BNGR).

After a derailment on the railroad on December 27, 2023, the FRA began an investigation of the railroad’s operating practices and determined that “BNGR is operating with a complete disregard for the safety of the public and has not taken corrective action to resolve safety issues identified by FRA as posing imminent risks of injury or death.”

The FRA filing also says that “FRA is aware of several serious incidents that have occurred following the change in BNGR ownership, including two derailments and a highly dangerous movement of on-track equipment through an unprotected highway-rail grade crossing, narrowly missing a collision with a passenger vehicle.”

The FRA adds “BNGR has, in its short time under current ownership, operated locomotives not safe for use under Federal law (49 U.S.C. 20701, 49 CFR part 229), allowed locomotives to be operated by persons not properly qualified as engineers in accordance with FRA regulations (49 CFR part 240) and failed to qualify any engineers or conductors under any qualification program in accordance with FRA regulations (49 CFR parts 240 and 242, respectively). BNGR has maintained no records of track safety inspections, no records of employees designated and qualified to perform track inspections, and no records that roadway workers have been trained to use roadway maintenance machines or perform safety-essential functions in accordance with FRA regulations (49 CFR parts 213 and 214).

You can read and dowload the entire report via this link.

The BNGR is represented by the red line in this map from the Oklahoma DOT. Courtesy Oklahoma DOT.

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