Officials discuss rail safety

I n a town where the high school sports teams are called the “Railroaders” one can assume that trains and railroads play a prominent role in the community.
The importance of railroads is quite evident for Whitehall, as well as many other towns and villages in the area.
With trains playing an important role in Whitehall, train safety is a necessity and with a substantial number of trains carrying crude oil derailing both nationally and regionally, this issue has come to the forefront.
Documents released by the state on July 15 indicated that as many as 44 trains per week, each carrying nearly one million gallons of crude oil, make their way through 17 upstate New York counties on their way to East Coast refineries.
Some local municipalities have taken action to ensure residents can feel comfortable about what is being transported through their towns and how securely it is being transported. Whitehall was ahead of the curve on preparing for this issue.
“We have an emergency preparedness plan, which is actually getting revamped now.” Mayor Peter Telisky said, “We are aware that trains run right through the center of Whitehall, which is why so many emergency services, like the fire department and rescue squad are located near the tracks.”
Just last week Albany County announced a new hotline for residents to call regarding strange odors or suspicious scents near areas that carry crude oil. Additionally, Kathy Sheehan, Mayor of Albany has established a Train Safety committee.
Back on April 7, a train derailed in Glens Falls at the Lehigh Northeast Cement Co. plant. At least one of the cars reported in this derailment was carrying liquefied ammonia and although no leaks were reported, the chance that it could have happened is disconcerting, not only to those in Glens Falls, but all around the area.
The Glens Falls Fire Department took all the necessary precautions to make sure that no contamination took place and prevented a leak from happening.
In the case of Whitehall, there has not been a train derailment since January of 2011 when a train heading from Rutland, Vt. derailed at a bend in the track in Whitehall. Reports of the time indicated that nobody was harmed, but 9 of the 54 cars on that train completely flipped off of the tracks.
“Luckily our train derailments, when they happen, don’t amount to much.” Telisky added, “Some areas’ trains come through, blast their horn and go 60 miles per hour; with the way the tracks are here, they slow down to 10 or 20.”
The most recent Whitehall train derailment was luckily not carrying any hazardous materials, however many other trains that come through this area and surrounding areas do carry potentially dangerous materials, predominately crude oil.
No instances of crude oil spills have happened in Whitehall and local officials are confident that will continue to be the case. Yet, they are prepared to handle a spill in the event that one does occur.

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Times in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Classifieds 09/02/15

Charges linger for 10 months, Man in limbo after arresting cop quits

Morrill resignation

By Christina Scanlon When former Granville Police Officer Marc D. Morrill resigned abruptly in April, several cases were still to […]

Trump, Cruz, Carson, Sanders top Washington County straw poll

Straw Poll

By Dan King The Washington County Fair met politics last week, as 737 people came out to vote in a […]

Naval Militia volunteers receive award

Naval Militia

By Dan King A group of seven area maritime veterans, including two from Whitehall and one from Granville, will be […]

First Friday this Friday

This month’s First Friday event, hosted by The Slate Valley Museum and Pember Museum and Library will features an unveiling […]

Teens’ summer jobs pay off

By Christina Scanlon As the summer of 2015 winds down and local youth prepare to head back to school, 50 […]

Hampton primary could decide election

By Christina Scanlon November’s election could be decided next week in Hampton, depending how the votes play out at the […]

Back to school in Hartford

By Christina Scanlon Teachers in the Hartford are headed back to school this week, while students across the district will […]

Backpack program, We Care Project join forces

By Dan King Last November the inaugural Mom Prom raised thousands of dollars for the We Care Project, which is […]

Changes everywhere as school begins today

By Dan King As students arrive at Whitehall Central School today, there will be abundant changes around them. Whether at […]

Bus routes honed as school looms

By Christina Scanlon The floors are gleaming with new wax, while outside the leaves are beginning to turn colors and […]

Earth science a challenge

By Christina Scanlon It takes a 65 on the Regents Exam to pass Earth Science, a course mandatory to get […]