Tip Sheets

‘A rolling hazard to any community’: Industry expert calls rail safety a national problem

Media Contact

Adam Allington

A second major derailment of a Norfolk Southern train occurred near Springfield, Ohio on Saturday. While no hazardous materials were contained in the wreck, the incident has renewed questions about rail safety, just over a month after the East Palestine derailment.

Arthur Wheaton

Director of Labor Studies, ILR School

Art Wheaton is an expert on transportation industries and serves as director of labor studies at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Wheaton says:

“It is a shame it takes two very public train derailments to capture Washington D.C.’s attention to a national safety problem.

“More than a thousand train derailments happen each year due to a lack of regulatory oversight. There is no limit on the number of train cars, and suggested rules for braking regulations and safe staffing levels have been blocked by lobbyists.

“The potential rail strike of last year was precisely over safety and concerns for derailments and toxic waste spills due to draconian attendance policies and greed by the rail companies.

“It is a rolling hazard to any community to have millions of tons of cargo and waste roll through towns without adequate safety precautions. Hopefully the anger being felt by small communities in Ohio from the two most recent train derailments will get some Republican and Democratic cooperation to make the rails safer.”

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