Union Pacific still investigating cause of derailment Saturday
By George Johnston, September 29, 2017
A Union Pacific Railroad train derailed in Benicia on Saturday afternoon [September 23, 2017].
The train, consisting of nine hopper cars, derailed near Bayshore Road in the Benicia Industrial Park around 3:40 p.m. No injuries were reported from the incident, and no hazardous materials were spilled. Union Pacific Railroad is currently investigating the situation, representatives for the company said.
Since 2013, at least six train derailments have been reported in the Industrial Park. The most recent prior to Saturday’s accident included two over the course of a week last October. In all instances, no injuries or spillages were reported.
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On Saturday September 23, 2017, several train cars derailed in Benicia’s Industrial Park. A local eyewitness reported passing by the scene at around 11:30pm on the 23rd. He saw ten covered gray hopper cars off the tracks, and rails torn apart, showing damage for about a tenth of a mile.
By midday Sunday, the area was still closed to auto traffic. Local videographer Constance Beutel couldn’t see much, but surveyed the scene from a distance, and posted the result to YouTube.
A quick look back shows that there have been six such incidents in the Benicia Industrial Park in less than five years. *
I wrote to Beutel, indicating that we have a derailment like this on average of more than once a year. She wrote back, “Surely your data is wrong? Didn’t the Valero Crude By Rail draft EIR clearly state that a derailment, given the data, would happen once in 111 years? “
Well, not quite. The prediction was actually that there would be a crude oil release once every 111 years. But given all the catastrophic derailments and explosions during those years, everyone knew that was just an industry snow job.