Oil train derailment sparks explosion, renewed debate over safety

There’ve been a fair number of news stories lately about the concern over oil trains hauling crude out of North Dakota.

This afternoon, the fears were confirmed when a BNSF oil train derailed and exploded near Casselton.

Kyle Johnson, of Valley News Live, posted that picture to his Twitter feed (taken by Tyler Spriggs).

Another angle via Loren Parks at WDAY:

Video has also been posted to Valley News Live’s Facebook page.

The fears over the oil trains were spawned largely by the derailment of a train carrying crude from from the Bakken oil patch in Quebec last summer, killing 47 people.

In an article published this month, the Associated Press said a problem with the route of the trains is they go through small towns with volunteer fire departments, not well schooled in handling a derailment and explosion.

“It’s not something to be afraid of,” countered Union Pacific CEO Jack Koraleski.

Shipments of crude oil by rail are up 50 percent over a year ago.

Related: Bakken crude makeup faces scrutiny in rail car explosion (Midwest Energy News).