Train derailments get the attention of a growing number of states

States Clamp Down on Freight Trains, Fearing Derailments and Federal Gridlock


The early February train derailment of toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio prompted several states to take railroad safety issues into their own hands.

They are not waiting on the U.S. Transportation Department to crack down on freight railroads. Legislatures in a dozen states took action in recent months and some seek new laws limiting the length of trains and how long trains can block road crossings.

Here’s why. There were 1,049 train derailments last year in the U.S. or about three a day. Yes, some were in Oklahoma.

The Kansas Senate approved a bill to limit trains to 8,500 feet, but it remains in a House committee until the session resumes in January. Gov. Laura Kelly supports it, her office said.

Examples of quickly-acting states include Ohio where the Republican-controlled government enacted a new law within two months after the Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine. A fiery train crash in Pennsylvania prompted the state House of Representatives to approve a wide-ranging safety bill early this month reported the Associated Press.

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