The deadly Amtrak derailment near Philadelphia appears to be yet another accident that didn’t have to happen. It could have been avoided if a long-sought safety technology had been installed on its tracks and trains, according to information gathered by accident investigators.
Union railroad workers called for Minnesota legislators to pass laws requiring at least two-person crews on every train operating in the state. The Smart Transportation Union said that would increase safety at rail crossings and railroad yards.
Several Minnesota cities are voicing safety concerns as more trains roll through Minnesota. Railway traffic in the Twin Cities has increased 40 percent in the last two years on tracks owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
Gov. Mark Dayton is urging the federal government to step in on railroad delays hitting Minnesota grain farmers. A growing backlog of railroad shipments cost corn, wheat and soybean farmers $109 million in lower prices this spring, according to a University of Minnesota study.
Trains have traveled through this part of Minnesota for just under 150 years, and as the small town of Staples grew around their tracks, railroads were virtually the only source of jobs for decades. “Four hundred men used to work in these offices,” Tom Kajer, 75, head of the Staples Historical Society, said as he walked on the fiberglass- and plaster-littered floors of the original depot’s second story. “Now, zero do.”
In the Minnesota summertime, it’s all about gardening, but if you’re in a rut when it comes to landscaping, there’s a new trend families can get on board with. The Minnesota Garden Railway Society builds backyard railways.
President Barack Obama appointed a board on Thursday to review a dispute between U.S. railroads and their unions.