There are many things that have happened as a result of the boom in domestic drilling in the United States. But if there is one thing that readers of our blog were most concerned about it was the increase in the amount of rail shipments by railroad companies. It was certainly something Texas-based BNSF Railways Co. concerned itself with recently, especially after a number of rail-car derailments raised questions about rail-car and worker safety.
According to reports, many shipments of crude oil and other hazardous materials are done so by some 78,000 tank cars that are prone to splitting when involved in a derailment and other accident. Past accidents, such as a particularly deadly one in Quebec last year, have proven that the danger is not just to people near the accident site but to railroad workers as well. As BNSF indicated recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been slow to finalize new regulations for improved tank cars, which is a risk BNSF says it is unwilling to take.