Union Pacific Fiery Derailment Prompts Investigation

A Union Pacific train hauling North Dakota crude through the Columbia River Gorge derailed in June, 2016 along a curve in the tracks near Mosier, Oregon. The accident sparked a fire that burned for 14 hours and causing officials to issue an evacuation order.

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Federal officials said the railroad was not following its own inspection rules to ensure the track was safe.  Proper inspection of the tracks would have found a series of broken bolts that allowed the rails to move too far apart, causing the derailment.

More than 800 potential violations against Union Pacific were found as part of a two-year examination of tracks across the U.S. used to haul crude. They include some of the same lax inspection problems blamed in the Mosier derailment, federal officials said.

In 2016, The U.S. Transportation Department says it collected more than $15 million in penalties for 6,268 railroad violations against the U.S. railroad industry for safety violations and other infractions.

Seattle Times Full Derailment Report

FRA Collected $15.75 Million in Penalties