Digest: NS derailment could keep road closed another 10 days

News Wire Digest for Dec. 29: Amtrak sued by landowner over fatal 'Cascades' derailment; TEXRail gets PTC certification
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Cleanup continues of this Dec. 23 Norfolk Southern derailment in Gary, Ind.
Bruce Stahl

Tuesday morning rail news:

Cleanup of NS derailment in Gary, Ind., could keep highway closed 10 days

It could be another 10 days before U.S. Route 12 is reopened in Gary, Ind., at the site of a pre-Christmas derailment of a Norfolk Southern train. The Chicago Tribune reports that while NS reopened its line on Dec. 24 after the 20-car derailment a day earlier, the derailment left debris along the highway near Indiana Dunes National Park. An NS spokesman said cleanup and repairs were continuing at the site. The derailment involved a 132-car train en route from Chicago to Elkhart, Ind. [see “Digest: Initial assessment of BNSF oil-train fire …,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 24, 2020].

Landowner sues Amtrak over environmental damage from fatal 'Cascades' wreck
Amtrak is being sued over the 2017 fatal Cascades derailment in DuPont, Wash., by a landowner who claims the accident caused environmental damage. The Tacoma News Tribune reports the suit by the Four Springs Land Agreement alleges “damage to trees and environmental damage from the spillage of battery acid, diesel fuel, hydraulic fluid and oil onto the property, in or near riparian areas, in or near wetlands and near the headwaters of Red Salmon Creek,” and that Amtrak has not cleaned up the property or compensated the landowner. It also contends ““Amtrak knowingly and intentionally failed to put in place and utilize an operable PTC or similar safety control system on Train 501 and the segment of railroad track where this tragic and preventable accident occurred.” The newspaper says Amtrak declined comment.

TEXRail PTC system certified by FRA
TEXRail, the 27-mile rail service between Fort Worth, Texas, and DFW International Airport operated by transit agency Trinity Metro, has received Federal Railroad Adminstration certification for its positive train control system. “This is a tremendous accomplishment,” Trinity Metro President and CEO Bob Baulsir said in a press release. “FRA has very high standards and we are pleased to have achieved certification for this safety enhancement.” The agency reports the FRA granted conditional approval to its safety plan last week and conditional certification of interoperability. Based on FRA standards, conditional certification meets the statutory certification requirement.

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