Many in Western New York came to know Debra Hershman, who fought on behalf of aviation safety regulations which came about due to the crash of Continental flight 3407 in Clarence. She’s leaving the National Transportation Safety Board and spoke of her concern about outdated rail tanker cars, such as those which pass through Buffalo and Western New York daily. Fortunately she has arranged two day  forum on the issue. Hershman said she’s especially concerned about the use of outdated DOT-111 tanker cars not designed to carry hazardous liquids such as Ethan all or crude oil.

If you recall, not too far from the New York border, in Québec last July, 47 people were killed, many were injured and half of the downtown area of Lac-Megantic was destroyed the huge explosion as a result of a train derailment. The train was transporting crude oil in outdated tanker cars. We had a near miss in Cheektowaga in December when a train derailed, luckily, it was a relatively minor derailment.

Tanker car manufacturers are willing to make safer cars, however, are seeking new regulations to conform with. We need designs, which are pressurized and armored. Design changes must come, let’s get started before another massive tragedy.

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