Safety Concerns Escalate: Federal Inspectors Discover Numerous Defects on Union Pacific Railroad

safety-concerns-escalate-federal-inspectors-discover-numerous-defects-on-union-pacific-railroad

Last summer, at the largest rail yard in the world in western Nebraska, federal investigators claimed to have discovered a startling amount of flaws in the locomotives and railcars Union Pacific was employing, and that the railroad had reluctance to correct the issues.

In a letter to UP’s top three executives on Friday, Amit Bose, the Federal Railroad Administrator, expressed his concern that the flaws pose a “serious danger to rail safety” on the Union Pacific train.

Both the 72.69% and the 19.93% problem rates for locomotives that inspectors discovered in July and August are twice the national average, according to Bose. Yet there are other federal regulations, and the letter didn’t specify what kinds of flaws inspectors detected in the North Platte Bailey Yard.

Bose questioned whether the recent layoffs of 94 locomotive craft workers and 44 carmen across the railroad based in Omaha, Nebraska, one of the biggest in the country, left UP without enough personnel to accomplish the required repairs.

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Calls for Reform Following East Palestine Incident

safety-concerns-escalate-federal-inspectors-discover-numerous-defects-on-union-pacific-railroad
Last summer, at the largest rail yard in the world in western Nebraska, federal investigators claimed to have discovered a startling amount of flaws in the locomotives and railcars Union Pacific was employing, and that the railroad had reluctance to correct the issues.


Despite the cutbacks, the railroad is still devoted to safety, according to Kristen South, a spokeswoman for Union Pacific.

After a train operated by another company, Norfolk Southern, derailed and caught fire in eastern Ohio in February, railroad safety has become a major issue nationwide. Regulators and Congressmen called for reforms after the East Palestine derailment, but since then, not many meaningful adjustments have been enacted.

According to South, the railroad has the necessary capacity and staffing levels to provide for the natural ebb and flow nature of the business.

Those layoffs, which UP announced late last month after the FRA finished its inspection, only account for a small portion of the railroad’s more than 30,000-person workforce.

Jim Vena, the new CEO of Union Pacific, only assumed his position as railroad’s top executive last month. In 23 Western states, Union Pacific has a track network totaling 32,400 miles (52,000 kilometers).

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Source: ABC News

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