Category Archives: San Francisco Bay Area

Train Collides With Truck Carrying Gasoline In Contra Costa County

Repost from The Contra Costa Times
[Editor: This happened just outside the Point Edith Wildlife Area and less than a mile from the Waterbird Regional Preserve.  I have not been able to determine what, if anything, the train was carrying.  If you hear more on this, please send me an email (rogrmail at gmail dot com).  – RS]

Contra Costa: Union Pacific Railroad train collides with truck

Bay City News, 02/01/2015
Google Street View
View from Waterfront Road toward Solano Way. (Google Street View)

A Union Pacific Railroad train collided with a tractor-trailer carrying gasoline in Contra Costa County on Saturday night, a spokesman said.

The collision occurred shortly before 10 p.m. at Waterfront Road and Solano Way, Union Pacific Railroad spokesman Aaron Hunt said.

The intersection is northeast of Martinez and east of Pacheco Creek.

The train crew and truck driver were not injured, Hunt said.

On Sunday, trains were running on the line where the collision occurred, he said.

The collision remains under investigation.

San Jose City Council unanimous in opposition to planned Phillips 66 oil-by-rail expansion

Repost from NBC Bay Area
[Editor: The Phillips 66 trains would come over the Sierra, and through Sacramento.  From there, they COULD travel south through Stockton and then west to the Bay Area.  OR they could continue west from Sacramento, through Davis, Dixon, Vacaville, Fairfield and BENICIA.  Here the trains would cross two seriously aging bridges in Benicia and Martinez before traveling through the heavily populated East Bay and South Bay.  See also the announcement by the Center for Biological Diversity.  Apologies for the video’s commercial ad.  – RS]

San Jose City Council Votes to Oppose Plans For Crude Oil Transport

By Robert Handa, Jan 13, 2015 

A major oil company looking to transport millions of gallons of crude oil on a train line through San Jose and Santa Clara has many South Bay residents up in arms.

Part of the expansion of the Phillips 66 Santa Maria refinery operation includes transportation along a stretch on Monterey Road in South San Jose. Many people in the area are worried about a possible train derailment involving toxic crude oil.

“Our concerns are ‘What would happen if a derailment occurred?’ And, in particular, the load that the trains are carrying,” said Sergio Jimenez, who heads up a homeowners association in South San Jose.

A check of the area shows a fence separating homes from the train tracks.

City Councilman Ash Kalra proposed San Jose take a stance on the issue with a letter opposing the oil company’s plan.

“It’s coming right through our cities within a hundred feet of homes in my council district,” Kalra said. “Going through farmlands in my council district as well, and going through downtown.”

The issue was discussed at Tuesday’s council meeting and a debate lasted lasted late into the afternoon, with some council members saying it is the federal government’s job, not the city’s, to make the call.

“We should also be asking ‘Is enough being done to make us safe?'” Councilman Johnny Khamis said. “But not outright oppose it.”

Ultimately, the council voted unanimously to oppose the plans for crude oil to be transported through San Jose and urged the San Luis Obispo Planning Commission to reject the expansion proposal.

Other cities along the rail route affected by the Santa Maria Phillips 66 project have also submitted letters or passed resolutions against crude-by-rail, including Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Martinez, Davis and Moorpark.

Phillips 66 did not return calls seeking comment.

San Jose council member urges rejection of Central California refinery’s crude-by-rail project

Repost from The San Jose Mercury News

San Jose council member urges rejection of Central California refinery’s crude-by-rail project

By Tom Lochner, Oakland Tribune, 11/26/2014

BERKELEY — As the deadline arrived for comments to an environmental report on a Central California crude-by-rail project, a San Jose City councilman got the early jump, announcing his opposition in a news release Monday afternoon.

The Phillips 66 Company Rail Spur Extension Project would bring as many as 250 unit trains a year with 80 tank cars plus locomotives and supporting cars to a new crude oil unloading facility in Santa Maria from the north or from the south along tracks owned by the Union Pacific Railroad.

Likely itineraries for the crude oil supplies coming from out-of-state include the Union Pacific Railroad tracks along the eastern shore of San Pablo and San Francisco bays that also carry Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor and Coast Starlight trains.

“This will allow mile-long oil trains carrying millions of gallons of explosive, toxic crude oil in unsafe tank cars to travel through California every day,” reads a news release from San Jose City Councilman Ash Kalra. “These trains will travel through the Bay Area passing neighborhoods in San Jose, including Kalra’s District 2 in south San Jose. This proposed plan threatens the residents and families along the rail routes and also threatens the environment and local water supplies.”

Kalra continues by urging San Luis Obispo County to reject the project, saying, “The safety of our community members, our health, and our environment, should not be taken lightly.”

In March, the Berkeley and Richmond city councils voted unanimously to oppose the transport of crude oil by rail through the East Bay.

As of early Tuesday, Berkeley had not communicated to this newspaper its comments to the environmental report. San Luis Obispo County as of early Tuesday had not published what is expected to be a voluminous body of comments from public agencies, advocacy groups and individuals.

On Tuesday, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said, “Having 60-car trains going through our town, as many as two a day, is an area of concern for anyone in the Bay Area because of the vulnerability of the rail cars and the problems that would ensue if one of them would explode.”

The Phillips 66 Santa Maria refinery currently receives its crude oil supply via underground pipeline from locations throughout California, but with the decline in crude oil production in the state, it is looking to alternative supplies that would be delivered most practically by rail, according to the refinery website.

“The refinery currently uses trains to transport products, and refinery personnel have decades of experience in safely handling railcars,” the Santa Maria Refinery Rail Project page reads in part. “The proposed change will help the refinery, and the approximately 200 permanent jobs it provides, remain viable under increasingly challenging business conditions.

“Everything at Phillips 66 is done with safety as the highest priority.”