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Almost two weeks after the derailment of tanker cars in Paulsboro New Jersey there are residents who haven’t yet been permitted to return home. The leaking rail car has been lifted out, while five other cars remain to be removed. There are hopes that the local residents will be able to return home by this weekend, in time perhaps to prepare for Christmas.

One item caught my attention in the USA Today article. It was noted that “Officials at the meeting acknowledged that a system to notify residents had not worked properly in the accident’s wake”. Ensuring proper communication protocols in the event of a derailment was one of the recommendations made by the town’s Rail Safety Committee in their recent report to council. With one bridge, one trestle and four overpass crossings we need to be prepared in the event of a derailment. Unlike a flat ground derailment where rail cars might drop ten feet and not rupture, a drop from the trestle, the bridge or even the overpasses might well lead to ruptures and the release of toxic materials into the air and the water.

It’s a Long Way To the Bottom

Parry Sound Trestle