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Train derailments

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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Train derailments

The devastating Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) derailment of two trains at Casselton, N.D., on Dec. 30, 2013, is not an isolated incident.

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BNSF has had previous derailments at this site. In May of 2005 at Casselton, two men received injuries and could have been killed by a derailing BNSF train that crushed the truck they were in. The roof and steering wheel of the truck had to be removed to free one man. Both were soaked with chemicals to kill weeds. I wonder how their health is.

A BNSF train with 32 coal cars derailed in approximately in the same area just five months earlier on Dec. 30, 2005. Casselton fought BNSF as the railroad tried to raise the speed from 40 mph to 60 mph. Can you imagine the damage a fast moving crude oil train would cause? Remember Lac Megantic, Quebec, with death and missing persons?

Perham, Minn., also had a derailment in the heart of downtown in October of 2003 causing extensive damage and found that the city was powerless to slow BNSF trains. How many more derailments since 2005 have happened, I don’t know because I don’t have daily access to the Fargo Forum newspaper.

I contacted Congressman James Oberstar’s Brainerd district office with a safety concern that occurred here in Brainerd after BNSF decided not to involve me with Minnesota state required response back to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry from BNSF. After one letter from Congressman Oberstar’s office that included the lack of involvement by an employee in a required safety response back to the Department of Labor and Industry, BNSF ended any further response on this matter to Congressman Oberstar. Currently Congressman Rick Nolan’s Brainerd office is involved with this continuing safety concern denial.

BNSF may claim that “safety is job No. 1” as a big banner on the Highway 10 side of the BNSF section shack at Verndale, Minn., proclaims but I know different.

James Pauly

Brainerd

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