Derailment: Can It Happen Here?

Scanning my twitter stream I note a Valley News Live report of another train derailment in Casselton, North Dakota. It’s the second time they’ve “dodged another bullet” as one citizen was quoted. It sparks me to scan recent photos I’ve taken of trains passing through North Idaho and I wonder, can it happen here? Of course it can. It has in the past.

I pulled off the highway recently to photograph this BNSF oil tanker train. It fascinates me that they can transport that much weight over rail for such a long distance. Commentary and photos by Dwayne Parsons

I pulled off the highway recently to photograph this BNSF oil tanker train. It fascinates me that they can transport that much weight over rail for such a long distance. Commentary and photos by Dwayne Parsons

Is a Train Derailment Possible Here?

The answer is “of course”. The question should be when?

But serious effort is made to prevent such a costly accident, right? I hope so. Especially, I hope this is so, when they are transporting oil and coal trains that approach two miles in length.

It’s not my place to judge whether safety features are strong enough or not. I really know nothing at all about that. But I do know that the BNSF tracks through North Idaho are receiving a very heavy amount of train traffic as oil and coal products are shipped to the coast for transport elsewhere.

Wherever trains travel, there is danger of derailment. But then planes crash and ships sink. So do we live in fear or do we go on with the way things have always been done?

Wherever trains travel, there is danger of derailment. But then planes crash and ships sink. So do we live in fear or do we go on with the way things have always been done?

I just bring up the question, that’s all. Here’s the Casselton story from near Fargo, Valley News Live. See if it applies here, or whether it could.