ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Two recent train derailments in Ohio, both involving the same rail company has many in the area and New York concerned for their safety. Lawmakers are now taking a closer look at railroad laws. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has 10 questions he plans to ask major railroad companies across New York and across the U.S. “Here’s the letter so you can get a picture of it for any of you taking pictures,” said Schumer at a press event on Tuesday.
In part the letter asks: What is your current policy on notifying New York State, local government, and first responders for trains carrying hazardous materials? In light of the Norfolk Southern accident in East Palestine, how do you plan to address rail safety inspections in the future? “And what the letter demands, is that each railroad outline exactly what steps they’re gonna take to prevent what happened in Ohio from occurring here in upstate New York,” said Schumer.
According to the DOT there are four major railroads operating in New York and 40 smaller ones. With the larger rail facilities located in Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Binghamton, and New York City. “And New Yorkers should not have to live in fear that these trains running through their cities and dumping toxic hazardous material near their family homes, might happen. … Our communities don’t even deserve to have that fear hanging over their heads,” said Schumer.
Last year, Governor Hochul vetoed legislation that would require a two-person minimum to operate a freight train, saying federal regulations already cover that. But Senator Schumer is working on a bipartisan safety bill that addresses the same issue.