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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / Digest: BNSF train derails in Washington after hitting truck

Digest: BNSF train derails in Washington after hitting truck

By | December 23, 2020

News Wire Digest fifth section for Dec. 23: Union threatens to strike Union Pacific over COVID policies; trustee says two companies show interest in buying Saratoga & North Creek

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A derailed train

More Wednesday evening rail news:

A derailed train
A BNSF train derailed near Mabton, Wash., after hitting a truck Wednesday morning.
(Yakima County Office of Emergency Management, via Twitter)

BNSF train derails after hitting truck
A BNSF train derailed near Mabton, Wash., after hitting a truck carrying farm equipment. KING-TV reports three locomotives and seven cars derailed in the accident at State Route 22 and Phillips Road on Wednesday morning. Some diesel fuel was spilled from two of the locomotives, leading to a response from the state Department of Ecology along with other authorites. The Yakima County Sheriff’s office reported there were “minimal injuries.” Mabton is about 40 miles southeast of Yakima. It is the second BNSF derailment in the state in two days, following Tuesday’s derailment and fire involving an oil train at Custer, Wash.

Union says it may strike Union Pacific over COVID policies
The union representing maintenance of way employees is threatening to strike Union Pacific over its COVID-19 policies. The Associated Press reports the Brotherhood oF Maintenance of Way Employees Division wants the railroad to improve safety precautions and needs to offer full pay to those who have to quarantine because of exposure to the virus. Union general chairman Tony Caldwell said in a letter to the railroad that UP’s protocols have created a work site “hazardous to the life and health of our members.” A railroad spokeswoman said the railroad has “implemented a robust pandemic response to ensure that our employees remain safe and are compensated if required to be off of work because of a work-related exposure to the virus.” A federal judge was scheduled to hear arguments today whether the union, which represents about 8,000 UP employees, should be allowed to strike.

Trustee negotiating with two potential buyers for Saratoga & North Creek
The trustee for the bankrupt Saratoga & North Creek is negotiating with two potential buyers, who might join forces to revive the operation. The Albany Times-Union reports trustee William Brandt wouldn’t name the buyers, but said in an email that while they are looking at a purchase separately, “there is also a possibility that they could buy the ine jointly as there appears to be some complementary overlap to what they may want to do with the railroad.” The 98-mile line from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to the Adirondack community of Tahawus has seen tourist trains on part of its route in the past, while a gravel mine in Tahawus seeks rail service. Brandt recently asked the Surface Transportation board to delay abandonment proceedings to pursue a possible sale of the line [see “Digest: Transport Canada plan …,” Dec. 15, 2020].

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