Fuel-hauling trains could derail at 10 a year

2015-02-23 06:36
US Investigators in West Virginia and Ontario pick through the wreckage from the latest pair of oil train derailments to result in massive fires. (Steven Wayne Rotsch, AP)

US Investigators in West Virginia and Ontario pick through the wreckage from the latest pair of oil train derailments to result in massive fires. (Steven Wayne Rotsch, AP)

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Billings - The US government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades.

The projection was contained in a Department of Transportation analysis from last July. It says the derailments could cause more than $4bn in damage and possibly kill hundreds of people if a serious accident were to happen in a densely populated part of the US.

The study took on new relevance this week after a train loaded with oil derailed in West Virginia, causing a spectacular fire and forcing hundreds of families to evacuate.

Monday's accident was the latest in a spate of fiery derailments. Senior federal officials say it underscores the need for stronger tank cars and other safety improvements.

Read more on:    us  |  environment

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