Last Year’ Fiery Iowa Derailment Caused by Broken Rail, Poor Repairs


Federal investigators determined that a broken rail caused the fiery 2017 train derailment in northwest Iowa that released 322,000 gallons of ethanol.

The National Transportation Safety Board has ruled that Union Pacific’s maintenance was inadequate before the March 2017 derailment near Graettinger, Iowa, and Federal Railroad Administration inspectors didn’t do enough to identify flaws in the track.
No injuries have been reported in the rural area and there have been no reports of injuries causing at least 4 million dollars of damage in the 160 miles (257 kilometers) northwest of Des Moines. Five of the 20 dirty tankers dived into Jack Creek.

NTSB said that Union Pacific, based in Omaha, Nebraska, will strengthen its road maintenance and inspection program, especially on railway lines carrying hazardous materials, such as ethanol, to avoid future disadvantages. The agency also recommended that FRA improve its training for inspectors

NTSB stated that the train on this track carries ethanol for the non-denatured export by adding the chemicals. The agency wants to investigate whether ethanol transport is safer before being denatured.

Union Pacific spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza said the railway co-operated with researchers in the examination and would evaluate the findings.

Ed Union Pacific will continue to work diligently to identify and implement improvements to our system-wide inspection and maintenance programs, Esp said Espinoza.

A FRA spokesman said the agency would review its NTSB findings and give a written answer within 90 days.
After this derailment, 14 of the 20 tanker tanker vehicles removed ethanol. The resulting fire lasted more than 21/2 days to burn itself.

Approximately 400 meters long runway and three-legged bridge were destroyed.

The oldest, less durable tankers of the moored cars by federal investigators were gradually adopted in the next few years.

The Federal regulations, which came into force in 2015, require that, in most cases, parts need to be released earlier, the aging requires changing or strengthening the soda-box rail tankers by 2029. Ethanol carriers should be replaced with 2023.

NTSB reiterated one of its previous recommendations for regulatory agencies to adopt a more detailed program to replace old tank cars with intermediate targets before 2023.

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