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Cuomo Announces Latest Round Of Oil Tank Cars, Rail Inspections

Inspection teams examined 341 crude oil tank cars, more than 132 miles of track and 69 switches during a recent series of rail inspections statewide.
Inspection teams examined 341 crude oil tank cars, more than 132 miles of track and 69 switches during a recent series of rail inspections statewide. Photo Credit: Courtesy of MTA Metro-North Railroad

New York State Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday the successful completion of another round of targeted crude oil tank car and rail inspections intended to improve public safety and reduce potential dangers associated with the transport of crude oil across the state.

Inspection teams examined 341 crude oil tank cars, more than 132 miles of track and 69 switches. Overall, state and federal teams uncovered and addressed five critical defects and 42 non-critical defects, including five non-critical in Orangeburg.

"We will continue working with our federal partners to identify and correct deficiencies in rail tracks and tank cars across New York," Cuomo said. "This round of inspections proves that our system is working to improve rail safety and that continued vigilance is necessary in order to ensure the highest level of public safety."

During the CSX Mainline Track Inspection – Orangeburg – Federal Railroad Administration track inspectors examined approximately one mile of track and two switches along the CSX mainline track in Orangeburg. They found five non-critical defects, including loose switch rod bolts, loose guard rail bolts and missing cotter pins at switch.

The inspections focused on track, track hardware and tank car mechanical safety equipment, including wheels and brakes. The teams also performed hazardous materials inspections to ensure that all equipment is in line with regulations, including valves, valve closures, and placards that identify the cargo being shipped.

They also checked tank car inspection and pressure test dates. During the inspections, two types of defects are identified: critical and non-critical. Critical defects identify important maintenance issues that must be addressed immediately, but do not necessarily indicate safety lapses. Non-critical rail defects must be repaired within 30 days. All tank car defects must be fixed before the train departs the yard. If that is not possible, the affected car must be pulled from the train to await repair.

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for continuing to make rail safety a top priority in New York State. The efforts we have made during the past two years have helped bring about stronger federal protections and have made New York State a leader in rail safety."

Since the campaign began in February 2014, the Department of Transportation and its federal partners have inspected 12,903 rail cars, including 10,895 crude oil tank cars, and 4,477 miles of track, uncovered 1,632 defects, and issued 20 hazardous materials violations.

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