December 1, 2015

Oil train safety legislation passes in Wash. state


OLYMPIA, Wash. – State lawmakers gave final approval April 24 to a bill meant to increase oil train safety. The bill was taken up in response to the uptick in oil train traffic in the region. It directs oil taxes to help pay for oil-train spill response. It also imposes public disclosure requirements for railroad [...]

BNSF retakes market share from Union Pacific


BNSF Railway Co. won back market share for grain and agriculture commodities that it lost to Union Pacific Corp. in 2014 when the railroad owned by Warren Buffett struggled to keep up with customer demand. In last year’s first quarter, BNSF lost about 4 percentage points of market share for carrying grain, fertilizer and other [...]

BNSF adds new safety rules for crude oil trains


OMAHA – BNSF Railway Co. has started taking additional safety measures for crude oil shipments because of four recent high-profile derailments in the U.S. and Canada, the railroad said Monday. Under the changes, BNSF is slowing down crude oil trains to 35 mph in cities with more than 100,000 people and increasing track inspections near [...]

BNSF to begin using aerial drones with cameras


Website is reporting that BNSF Railway will begin using aerial drones equipped with cameras to “conduct regular inspections of railway infrastructure and rights of way.” According to the Federal Aviation Administration website, any operation that does not meet the statutory criteria for a public aircraft operation is considered a civil aircraft operation and must [...]

BNSF faces penalty on hazmat spill reporting rules


OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington state rail safety regulators March 19 recommended BNSF Railway Company be penalized for failing to timely report multiple hazardous material spills along state railways. The Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) issued the formal complaint following a staff investigation into BNSF’s failure to report 14 releases of various hazardous materials, including crude [...]

BNSF announces plans to expand capacity


BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) Jan. 15 announced more details about the major capital projects it plans to complete in 2015 to maintain and grow its rail network. In BNSF’s North Region, the company will invest approximately $1.5 billion across eight states for engineering maintenance and line expansion projects, of which approximately $700 million* is planned [...]

BNSF announces $6B capital expenditures for 2015


BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) today announced that its planned capital expenditures for 2015 will be $6 billion, which will go toward maintenance and expansion of the railroad in order to meet the expected demand for freight rail service. The 2015 plan marks the third year in a row that BNSF has committed a record amount [...]

Buffett’s BNSF has turned into a cash machine


Days after Warren Buffett announced his US$26.5 billion buyout of railroad BNSF, he insisted that he’d paid a steep price to own a business that would benefit his company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., over the next century. “You don’t get bargains on things like that,” he said in a November 2009 interview with Charlie Rose that [...]

Member dies in Colorado switching accident


A SMART Transportation Division member was killed on the job Wednesday (Oct. 9) afternoon in a railroad switching accident at a Colorado Springs, Colo., industrial complex. According to media reports, BNSF Railway conductor Dawn Trettenero, 42, was trapped between two rail cars. Firefighters told Television Station KKTV that they arrived within minutes of being notified [...]

Railroads sue California over new crude oil rules


California’s two major railroad companies have filed suit in federal court challenging a state law requiring railroads to come up with an oil spill prevention and response plan. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento, contends federal laws largely prohibit states from imposing safety rules on railroads such as the ones [...]