Heartland transportation official weighs in on railroad safety - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland transportation official weighs in on railroad safety

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)
CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - With recent train derailments in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Heartland News wanted to know what kind of precautions are in place right here to ensure rail safety.

With about 10 miles of rail to maintain, SEMO Port Authority director Dan Overbey knows what goes into staying safe on the tracks.

"Everyone wants to achieve a good safety record," Overbey said. "They check the track, they inspect the bridges."

He says inspectors visit the Port Authority tracks about once a month. That can be even more frequent for busier lines.

"They'll inspect weekly but then they have more specialized equipment," Overbey said.

Rail inspectors can use a scanner to get a microscopic look at any inconsistencies in the track.

Overbey says it's an intensive process to make sure equipment is up to snuff but there's still risk.

"You try to work around it and you try to back stop it but still sometimes things happen," he said.

Of the 16 train accident reports the NTSB released in 2014, officials found 10 involved human error.

"The FRA, the NTSB and other groups they're all working to the same goal, they're trying to improve safety," Overbey said. "The tough part is, even with that said you still have things go wrong."

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