State inspectors found critical defects on railroad tracks between Fort Edward and Burnt Hills during a recent inspection, as well as defects with crude oil tank cars in Albany, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday.
The latest in a series of inspections targeting crude oil tank cars and their rail routes uncovered 93 defects, including seven critical safety problems that required immediate corrective action, Cuomo said.
State and federal teams examined 453 crude oil tank cars and approximately 148 miles of track during inspections conducted March 11-12.
On the 35 miles of CP Rail track between Fort Edward and Burnt Hills, Cuomo said a Federal Railroad Administration track inspector found three critical defects — missing bolts in rail joints — which were immediately repaired by a CP Rail crew. Eleven noncritical defects were also found, including loose and missing switch bolts and fouled ballast.
The stretch of rail through Saratoga County is part of a regular route for oil trains between the Canadian border and Albany, which has become a major oil transfer hub.
At the Kenwood Yard in Albany, a state Department of Transportation inspector found 10 non-critical track defects, including loose and missing bolts on switch components and missing cotter pins on switch bolts. Non-critical issues must be addressed within 30 days.
Also at the Kenwood yard, rail equipment inspectors examined 200 crude oil tank cars and found 24 non-critical defects, including thin brake shoes, shelled wheels and a missing knuckle pin. An FRA hazardous materials inspector issued two violations to oil shipping company Global Partners for a missing sample line plug and for failing to apply a vapor line cap lock. Those issues had to be corrected before the trains could leave the yard.
“Our administration is continuing to hold crude oil transporters to the highest standard of safety, and this latest round of inspections shows that our efforts are making a significant difference when it comes to protecting New Yorkers,” Cuomo said in a statement.
He noted a number of derailments involving Bakken crude oil have now resulted in explosions and fires. Until there are new federal regulations, he said, “we will continue to remain vigilant and work with all partners to make sure that crude oil is transported safely across the state.”
Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Colonie, said the newest inspection results show the need for improved safety measures.
“We must hold crude oil transporters to the highest standard of safety. The communities we represent deserve nothing less,” Steck said.