October 22, 2014

Member dies in Colorado switching accident

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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

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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 [...]

BNSF to invest $235M in Washington state

BNSF Railroad will invest $235 million in its system in Washington state this year, nearly double the amount invested in 2013. This suggests that the company is continuing to upgrade a system that supported $28.5 billion in state economic activity, according to a study released Monday. Read the complete story at Puget Sound Business Journal.

BNSF crew proposal was defeated by 5-1 margin

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Of 3,679 ballots returned, 3,056 were in opposition to the crew consist agreement. Nearly the same number of ballots cast were in opposition to a wage and rule settlement offered by the carrier. Under the proposal, engineers would have received a pay boost, and conductors would have been given the opportunity to become engineers. It [...]

Report: Hazardous chemicals not on trains’ cargo lists

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At least 18 times in the past three years BNSF Railway freight trains rolled west out of Minneapolis pulling cars filled with hazardous chemicals that were not on the train’s official cargo list, according to train crew complaints. That’s contrary to federal regulation because in case of an accident, local firefighters can be left in [...]

BNSF: Keystone pipeline won’t dent crude by rail

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One of the top executives at the nation’s leading hauler of crude oil in trains said Friday that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline wouldn’t take away any of his company’s business. Matt Rose, the executive chairman of BNSF Railway, told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that the controversial pipeline project would move primarily heavy crude [...]

Conductor who won suit over BNSF loses home

SNOHOMISH, Wash. – A Snohomish man says he’s out hundreds of thousands of dollars he’s owed and is struggling to support his family — all because he was trying to protect you from an oil train derailment. Moving into a new house is usually cause for celebration, but Curtis Rookaird, his wife, and their two [...]

Members defeat BNSF proposal to cut train crew size

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A tentative agreement to reduce train crew size on one of the nation’s largest rail carriers has failed, according to the labor union whose members voted on it this week. The pact would have eliminated on-board conductors on 60 percent of BNSF Railway, which spans the western two-thirds of the country. Read the complete story [...]

Coroner reports railroad worker was shot

The Kern County’s coroner’s office released the official cause of death for Robert Limon, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway worker who was found dead on Aug. 17. According to the coroner’s office, Limon died from multiple gunshot wounds and ruled the matter as a homicide. Read the complete story at the Tehachapi News.

Limiting oil-train info violates law, state tells railroads

Two railroad companies want to prevent the public from getting details about oil shipments through Washington state, information the federal government ordered be given to state emergency managers after several oil-train accidents. But restricting such information violates the state’s public-records law, so the state has not signed documents from the rail companies seeking confidentiality, said [...]