A freight train reportedly carrying contaminated dirt derailed in Hicksville, New York this afternoon.
Just last week a Long Island Rail Road train derailed in nearby Huntington, causing the LIRR to suspend service on all trains on the Port Jefferson line east of Hicksville. That derailment was blamed on a watermain break that flooded the tracks. Two commuter trains in Washington, DC crashed in late June, killing 9 people and injuring scores of others.
After years of progress, train injuries and fatalities are on the rise. A 2005 survey found that 800 people die from train and subway accidents each year. Every 90 minutes, a train accident occurs in the United States.
Here’s a question we haven’t been able to find an answer to: what are the costs in terms of deaths and injuries of rail expansion plans advocated by many of the nation’s mayors? This seems like it should be easy information to obtain but for some reason it isn’t. The National Transportation Safety Board’s website is a disaster. That’s frustrating because surely safety should be part of the public deliberation about expanded the use of rail transportation.
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