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Letter: We can prevent derailments by inspecting trains, tracks

We can prevent derailments by inspecting trains, tracks

I’ve read articles in the papers about the terrible accidents with oil trains. They talk about the number of lives lost, towns destroyed and property damage in various communities, not to mention the value of the lost oil and cost of cleanup. They don’t mention the cause. Many railroad accidents are caused by a sharp or broken flange on a wheel. Some are caused by a “hot box” where a wheel journal burns out. Much of this can be done away with by Timken roller bearings.

Sometimes the rail is at fault: a rail breaks; the ball of the rail separates from the web; a missing fish plate; missing nuts and bolts; a spike raises up; or the tie plate shifts.

Most of this can be eliminated by car inspectors and gandy dancers (track walkers). These people do a walking inspection and make minor repairs that do away with much of the risk.

Management is pushing the button by eliminating these jobs. Managers are padding their income by doing away with safety. They should be made to be responsible for financial and criminal penalties both for the corporation and the people in charge.

Joe Bauer

Buffalo