Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has created a Railroad Safety and Security Taskforce, which will develop an action plan to prepare and respond to possible train derailments. The launch of the task force follows the April 30 derailment of a CSX freight train carrying crude oil shipped from the Midwest to Yorktown. The accident occurred in downtown Lynchburg adjacent to the James River.
“The train derailment that occurred on April 30 raises important public safety and health concerns,” said Gov. McAuliffe. “While fortunately no one was hurt, it is critical that we determine the cause of this accident to help better protect Virginia’s families. The Railroad Safety and Security Taskforce will help ensure that the commonwealth is a national leader in preventing, preparing for and responding to these types of events.”
Gov. McAuliffe sent a letter to U. S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx highlighting his support to strengthen federal rules regarding the safety of rail cars carrying crude oil, as well as improved communication between the rail companies, first responders and community officials.
The new taskforce will include state agencies officials and subject matter experts. Members of the taskforce will be responsible for making recommendations and taking action to enhance Virginia’s capability to protect lives, property and the environment along its many rail lines.
Following the task force announcement, CSX issued the following statement:
SX appreciates Governor McAuliffe’s leadership in this area and his focus on shared dialogue with respect to the safety and security of rail shipments, which is our priority.” said Bryan Rhode, regional vice president – state government affairs. “We look forward to participating in the task force as part of our ongoing collaboration with federal, state and local agencies.
“Through that collaboration, as well as customer coordination, employee training and substantial investment in infrastructure and new safety technologies, CSX seeks to continuously innovate to offer the safest, most secure movements of energy and other products, which are vital to U.S. competitiveness, jobs and manufacturing.
“CSX currently is engaged in a number of new efforts, including under the recent compact between the Association of American Railroads and U.S. Department of Transportation. That agreement will slow speeds of some shipments through certain urban areas, increase track inspections, and enhance already strong efforts to promote strong, long-term coordination with state, local and emergency response officials across the network.”