In the wake of the horrific freight train crash in Quebec last week, emergency officials in New England say they are prepared for a similar incident.
The freight train which caused the fiery crash near the Quebec/Maine border was carrying crude oil. In the U-S., rail transport of the product has increased 24 times over 2008 levels. That dramatic rise is due in part to oil production through hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”. Some crude is brought through parts of New England including western Massachusetts.
“Main line tracks around here are inspected twice a week by qualified railroad inspectors of the various companies that operate them.”
Tony Jewell is a Western Massachusetts-based railroad safety consultant. He says railways are safer than they were decades ago.
“All this activity is regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration: What the qualifications of the inspectors are, how many inspections a week they’re supposed to be doing, the type of records they have.”