Durbin Meets With BNSF Chairman To Discuss Railway's Crude Oil By Rail Operations Following Galena Train Derailment

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Following the derailment of a BNSF Railway train carrying crude oil near Galena, Illinois, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) met today with BNSF Railway Executive Chairman Matt Rose to receive an update on the accident and to discuss the rail company’s crude oil by rail operations. BNSF is the largest shipper of crude oil in North America. A photo of today’s meeting will be available shortly here.


“In the days following the train derailment in Galena, Illinois, BNSF officials worked quickly and efficiently with federal, state and local agencies to respond to the disaster,” Durbin said. “But the fact remains that as these tragic accidents become more frequent, stricter standards are needed to prevent from these fiery train derailments from occurring. BNSF and other railway companies will be critical partners in our ongoing efforts to ensure that our communities are safe during the transport of potentially dangerous and combustible products.”

Five years ago, very little crude oil was hauled by the nation’s railroads. Today, more than 1.1 million barrels per day – with more expected – move by rail, largely originating in the Midwest. There have been four fiery derailments involving oil trains in North America since the start of February, including one near Galena, Illinois.

After the BNSF Railway train derailment earlier this month, Durbin wrote Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan urging renewed efforts to create the strongest possible safety standards for the transportation of flammable materials. Durbin also joined twenty-one Senate colleagues earlier this week calling on the Senate Appropriations Committee to support robust investment for a Safe Transportation of Energy Products program to address increasing safety concerns related to the transportation of Bakken crude and other energy products.


The Safe Transportation of Energy Products Fund is intended to address current and emerging safety issues related to the transportation of combustible energy products like Bakken Crude. It would include providing additional crude oil route safety managers, inspectors and tank car specialists at FRA, special agents at FMCSA to provide additional oversight of energy product transportation, and additional safety equipment, training, and outreach through PHMSA. Along with these personnel and resource additions, the Local Rail Facilities and Safety Program will provide critical infrastructure improvements to facilities handling tank cars, particularly to small stations.