Trains carrying crude oil often travel through downtown Richmond. Now after that horrific derailment in Lynchburg, federal, state, and local law makers are teaming up with members of the rail industry with hopes of making transporting hazardous materials safer.
It's hard to forget these gripping images out of Lynchburg of the train that derailed, bursting into flames, and sending nearly 50,000 gallons of crude oil into the James River.
"It's time to move these discussions from the discussion phase into the implementation phase," said U.S. Sen. Mark Warner.
Fast forward one month and two days later and Warner is bringing the train industry, state, and local officials together in an effort to make sure that this type of accident doesn't happen again.
"We saw the tragedy in Lynchburg could have been much, much worse if these rail cars had fallen not into the river but actually into the city," he said.
Warner is encouraging the train industry to make the first step by making the transportation of crude oil less of a threat to the surrounding communities.
"It is in their economic self interest to do all they can to make sure this oil is transported as safely as possible," Warner said.
Brian Rhode of CSX Corporation, said, "We understand that there are concerns and we are working as hard as we can with folks like the senator, as well as the state level. The governor is convening a rail safety task force and we will be involved with that."
First responders that helped with the Lynchburg accident were on hand to weigh in on today's discussion. Lynchburg's fire chief Brad Ferguson said with more trains frequently running in the area they need to know how to handle these emergencies.
"I just hope we have a better idea and a better handle, if you will, on how we can make this type of incident less frequent."
This is just the first of these conversations to be had. Warner said he will take the findings of this conversation back to Washington.
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