January 11, 2018: AAR Released a Report Showing Decline in U.S. Rail Traffic

The Association of American Railroads released a report that shows U.S. rail traffic is down 4.6% from this time last year.
According to the report, of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks only petroleum and petroleum products have seen an increase over the previous year. Commodities such as coal, nonmetallic minerals, and grain have seen a decline between 6.1-9% when compared to this time last year.

Crude oil leads 2018 carloads week

January 14, 2018: CSX Spills Diesel Fuel in Selkirk

A fuel tank partially derailed in Selkirk at the CSX rail yard on Sunday. The tank car spilled 2,100 gallons of diesel fuel after a car coupling broke and forced the engine to jolt. This shifted the car off the rails and punctured the fuel tank.
Selkirk Fire Department Chief Joe Michaniw said most of the fuel actually spilled into the rocky track bed. The State Department of Environmental Conservation was on site to clean up the spill.  Chief Michaniw said “We contained it with absorbent booms and pads. That’s about all that can be done right now. There is no threat to the public. It’s too cold…..I’m sure they are going to have to dig it up to clean it up. they can’t leave it there. But for now, its contained.”

CSX train tips spills 2,100 gallons of diesel fuel in Selkirk

January 11, 2018: Families Receive Financial Settlement in Railroad Tank Car Death

A financial settlement has finally been reached between Agridyne LLC’s livestock food plant and the families of the two men who were killed in 2014 after breathing hydrogen sulfide gas inside a railroad tanker car. The two central Illinois families will share the $6 million settlement. OSHA fined Agridyne $266,000 for safety violations related to the incident.

Families to receive $6 million in railroad tank car death

January 11, 2018: Justice Dumas Rejects Motion to Acquit Two Defendants in Lac-Megantic Trail

Quebec Superior Court judge Justice Gaétan Dumas has rejected the defense motion to acquit two out of the three accused former Montreal, Main, and Atlantic railway employees that were involved in the Lac-Mégantic derailment that killed 47 people in 2013. While he admitted that he felt the Crown’s case against those two individuals was not persuasive, he also pointed out that it is not up to him to evaluate the evidence to see if it is strong enough to convict the accused. That job falls to the members of the jury, who are currently in the middle of deliberations.
Throughout the trial, which lasted for three months, the prosecution attempted to show that the supervisors on duty the night of the derailment had not properly done their jobs. The prosecutor, Véronique Beauchamp, said “Their failure to take the appropriate measures to prevent the train from moving was a key cause of the derailment.”
However, the defense attorneys feel that despite the prosecution putting up 31 witnesses during the course of the trial, the Crown had not met the burden of proof for the case against their clients. Gaétan Bourassa, attorney for defendant Jean Demaître, believes that since there was no rule in effect at the time of the derailment that would require engineers to inform their supervisors that the train had been properly secured, his client would have no reason to wonder if a sufficient amount of handbrakes had been set when the fuel train was left idling. Guy Poupart, defense attorney for Richard Labrie, also argued that none of the witnesses that testified said the railway traffic controller should have been informed by the engineer that they were leaving the site where the train was secured.
After reviewing the motion to acquit the two employees Dumas issued a statement saying “It’s not up to the judge to examine the quality of the evidence. It’s the jury’s job to determine if Demaître and Labrie … took steps to avoid bodily harm to other people.”
Prior to the start of the trial, Dumas ruled the TSB’s report on the derailment was inadmissible so the jury never heard the results of the report. The report actually identified 18 causes and factors that played a part in the accident. Some of those factors included gaps in training, employee monitoring and maintenance practices at MMA, Transport Canada’s failure to audit the railway often enough or thoroughly enough, and the fact that the rail line between Nantes and Lac-Megantic is not only the steepest slope in Quebec but the second steepest in Canada.

What the jury in the Lac-Mégantic trial didn’t hear

January 8, 2018: Norfolk Southern Railway Dealing with Fuel Spill in Tennessee Waterway

Norfolk Southern Railway has taken responsibility for more than 1,000 gallons of fuel that spilled into Citico Creek and the Tennessee River on Monday. The railroad is working to ensure the environmental impact of the spill is minimized. They deployed containment booms on Monday night to prevent more of the spill from entering the water.
Chattanooga Fire Department spokesman Bruce Garner said “The challenge is being able to take a spill like this, in excess of 1,000 gallons, and try to contain it as much as possible….the Tennessee River is a water source for the city of Chattanooga. We’re mindful of that, as well. We’re making every effort to make sure as much of it is contained and cleaned up as possible….if there’s any silver lining to a petroleum product being released, it is that it tends to want to float and stay up high, which is pretty far away from the intakes.” Garner and Tennessee American Water spokeswoman Daphne Kirksey said that despite the spill being located downstream from the spill they do not feel it will be a threat to the drinking water supply. So far none of the water samples tested show any signs of contaminated water entering the city ‘s water supply.

More than 1,000 gallons of fuel spill into Tennessee waterway

January 10, 2018: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

The Association of American Railroads submitted a petition for waiver of compliance regarding 49 CFR 232.205(b)–Class I brake test initial terminal inspection, 232.209(a)—Class II brake tests—intermediate inspection, 232.211(a)—Class III brake tests-train line continuity inspection, and 232.217(c)—Train brake tests conducted using yard air. AAR submitted the petition on behalf of its member railroads.  The petition focuses on the portion of the regulation that requires a brake test or inspection be performed if the car has been off-air for more than four hours. AAR is seeking permission to extend the off-air time to 24 hours.
At this time, FRA has no plans to hold a public hearing on the petition. Interested parties may submit comments until February 26, 2018.

Docket Number FRA–2017–0130

January 5, 2018: Former Louisiana Attorney General and Kahn Swick & Foti, LLC Investigates the Officers and Directors of CSX Corporation

Charles C. Foti, Jr., former Louisiana Attorney General and current partner in the law office of Kahn Swick & Foti, announced on Friday that his law office has begun an investigation into CSX’s decision to hire Hunter Harrison as CEO in March of 2017.
Mr. Harrison, who passed away in December from what was described as severe complications from a recent illness, was given a four-year contract that included an $84 million reimbursement for the lost salary and benefits from his previous job, payment of a tax indemnity that could be as high as $23 million, and tens of millions in salary and incentive compensation. When CSX requested an independent doctor review Mr. Harrison’s medical records prior to hiring he refused but was hired anyway.
KSF is looking into concerns that CSX’s officers and/or directors may have breached their fiduciary duties to the shareholders by having prior knowledge about Mr. Harrison’s health condition and not disclosing that information. The investigation will also look into whether or not they failed to exercise due diligence during the hiring process.
Anyone with information that could assist KSF during its investigation is asked to call KSF at 1-877-515-1850 or email KSF Managing Partner Lewis Kahn at lewis.kahn@ksfcounsel.com.

CSX INVESTIGATION INITIATED by Former Louisiana Attorney General: Kahn Swick & Foti, LLC Investigates the Officers and Directors of CSX Corporation


January 4, 2018: CSX Dealing with Hazmat Spill in Alabama

A tank car carrying sulfuric acid split in half while in CXS’s Tarrant Alabama rail yard. Birmingham Fire & Rescue was contacted but later told by CSX that they would not be needed. CSX issued a statement informing the public that there was no safety risk to the community or the waterways.

CSX investigating sulfuric acid spill at Tarrant rail yard