UP safety citations through September surpass 2006 totals
Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific is having a booming year. Freight volumes are up, rates are up — now safety infractions are up.
The Class I railroad has registered 5,479 violations so far this year with the Federal Railroad Administration, surpassing the firm's total number of FRA safety citations — 4,951 — for all of last year.
The railroad has also suffered from a recent string of highly publicized accidents, including derailments, runaway cars and crashes in Texas and California.
Last month, a Union Pacific tanker containing 90 tons of chlorine gas escaped a train yard in Nevada and rolled more than 20 miles through Las Vegas before being safely stopped. On Sept. 11, an 84-car UP train traveling north from San Bernardino County to Oregon derailed in the small town of Guadalupe, Calif., throwing seven cars off the tracks. On Monday, a vapor leak in a UP tanker carrying hydrochloric acid caused evacuations in Oskaloosa, Iowa. There was no derailment and a team of hazardous materials cleanup experts quickly stemmed the flow of the highly corrosive gas.
The FRA is investigating all of the incidents.
UP said it conducts its own internal inspections in addition to any conducted by FRA investigators. The firm pointed out that while the railroads operate in a very 'dynamic environment' and accidents are bound to happen, UP takes measures to assure that each is reported, dealt with and addressed internally to reduce the chances of it happening again