Following the derailment in Coolidge, AZ some critics are becoming concerned about the safety of operating extra long freight trains. Long trains began running through Arizona last year. Around that time, most major railroads also reduced the number of employees on each train from seven to two. Critics are concerned about the extra wear and tear on the rail infrastructure.
Scott Jones, state legislative director for SMART Union transportation division, stated “The longer the train, that’s going to be, the heavier the train. So, when you see a 14,000 foot long train, you can probably count on it being at least 10,000 tons. And that’s 10,000 tons of equipment running over the same railroad, the same rail, the same infrastructure that has been there for years. We really feel like it’s putting safety at risk.”
Union Pacific has not addressed these concerns but did release the following statement concerning the derailment. “The safety of our employees is our top priority. We’re committed to the safe operation and maintenance of our equipment. We follow federal rules and regulations in the operation, maintenance, and inspection of equipment, using a variety of technology. We understand the impact of this derailment, and we want to assure the community of Coolidge and Arizona residents that we work diligently to prevent derailments and other incidents.”
Critics argue long freight trains create safety concerns after Coolidge derailment