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Derailment prompts call for quicker replacement of old cars

March 11, 2017 | Beloit Daily News | “God forbid this happens in a community or with people sitting in their cars waiting for the train to go by. It’s not like we haven’t seen that kind of tragedy before,” said Karen Darch, co-chair of an Illinois-based coalition of local officials, called TRAC, that has pushed for rail safety enhancements. The group was formed after a 2009 derailment of ethanol tankers killed a woman at a crossing in Cherry Valley, Illinois. Darch is village president of neighboring Barrington, Illinois.

On Friday, the NTSB said the derailed tankers were believed to be an older type, known as the DOT-111. The agency deemed that tanker a hazard as far back as 1991, noting its steel shell is too thin to resist puncture in accidents. The ends are especially vulnerable to tears from couplers that can fly up after ripping off between cars.

“We would love to see the industry stepping up and beating the deadline the law has given them,” Darch said. “I don’t know if someone will go back, after something like this, and take a look at whether the deadlines can be hastened, but it certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea.”

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