Fire Bombs Roaming America's Railroads

Posted by K R on

Boom is a terrifying documentary on a problem that you may not be aware of: America has been invaded by hundred of thousands of moving fire bombs—freight trains with old, cheap tanker cars designed to transport corn oil filled with dangerous flammable oil. Logically, accidents are happening, people are dying, and oil is spilling. As production kept increasing, the oil-by-train transport business grew from 9,500 carloads of crude oil in 2008 to more than 400,000 tankers in 2013, each carrying 30,000 gallons. Many trains carry as much as one hundred cars. Naturally, the list of accidents keeps increasing:
A train hauling 2.9 million gallons of Bakken oil derailed and exploded on November 8 in Aliceville, Alabama, and the oil that leaked but did not burn continues to foul the wetlands in the area. On December 30th, a train collision in Casselton, North Dakota 20 miles outside of Fargo, prompted a mass evacuation of over half the town's residents after 18 cars exploded into fireballs visible for miles. 400,000 gallons of oil spilled after that accident, which involved two trains traveling well below local speed limits. Around 1AM on July 5, 2013, over 60 oil cars exploded after a runaway train derailed in Lac-Megantic, a Canadian town near the Maine border, leveling dozens of buildings and killing 47 of the town's roughly 6,000 residents.
Sounds bad? It gets worse: The U.S. government says that freight train accidents spilled 1.15 million gallons of crude oil just in 2013. For comparison, the average amount from 1975 to 2012 was 22,000 gallons a year. via Gizmodo.

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