Thursday, February 23, 2023

Last Train to Clarksville


I've been watching the debacle over the Ohio train derailment with a great deal of interest.  Regular blog readers know that I do like trains.

Background:  a train derailed near the Ohio/Pennsylvania line February 3.  Explosion.  Fire.  Toxic smoke.  Contaminated water.  

Analysis:  residents feel the government and Norfolk Southern response is lacking.  I get that.  While the war in Ukraine is important, a lot of people feel the president took a trip to Europe without paying enough attention to the problems at the derailment site.  Perception equals reality.  The optics here aren't very good and the president really does need to have his boots on the ground in Ohio.

After the clean up, how do we fix the issue?  Rail is the main way we transport the chemicals used at water and sewage treatment plants around the country.  The same goes for a long list of chemicals used in manufacturing.  No one is hauling the hazardous stuff for funsies.  We can't construct a pipeline for every different chemical.  Not practical.  Leaks.  Environmental damage from the pipeline construction.  Do we want more tanker trucks filled with hazardous materials on our already crowded and poorly maintained interstates? 

It seems like the only practical solution is to improve safety standards on the rails.