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Communities to be notified of train cargo

Fairport, N.Y. - The main rail line in the state runs right through the Village of Fairportcarrying all kinds of different cargo, a steady flow of trains travel over main street Main Street, right past a number of restaurants and a handful of homes each day.

24-7, it's like every 5-10 minutes sometimes it seems like two a minute, said Doris Ogden. Seated on her porch that sides to the tracks, Ogden said shes gotten used to the noise, shes memorized the schedule but shes never known when hazardous materials were moving on the rails right next to her home. I just dont know what it is; I dont know whats in the tanks, Ogden said.

CSX Transportation was one of the freight carriers that tried to prevent states from releasing information on routes for a train traveling with oil and how much it was transporting.

Citing security concerns, CSX and Canadian Pacific Railway Company asked the state to sign a nondisclosure agreement a request that was denied and New York will soon disclose routes and schedules of freight cars filled with Bakken crude oil.

Understanding what the potential problem is helps us a lot, Fairport Fire Chief Mike Gropp said this new information will help first responders. Typically our pagers go off and we just get what were getting from 911 as far as information from the dispatch and then we take each step from there the best we can.

If there was a trail derailment first responders would have to contact the engineer to find out what the train was carrying, so Gropp said they wouldnt exactly know what they were dealing with or the dangers they could be up against until they got on scene. If we were to respond to a train accident, a derailment something involving the trains that are going to be a very slow process moving in, all the precautions come out in an incident like that, Gropp said.

While there will still be lots of precautions taken and protocol to follow, Gropp said the states new regulation will help speed up response times for emergencies on the tracks.

Ogden argued it doesnt matter how fast response time areif a train derailed near her home, she said no one would be able to save her. Ogden said, If they tip over here, were all gone this whole area would be gone I mean we wouldnt even live to tell you about it.

Unit trains which haul 100 or more tankers of crude oil regularly run through the Rochester area, in suburbs such as Fairport, Gates, Brighton, East Rochester and Perinton.

Since the gas prices went up, yea, a lot more trains. Sometimes there are two or three on the track at a time two going one way, one going the other way, said Ogden.

Trains now carry more than 40-times the amount of crude oil they did just five years ago and New York has become a central route from North Dakota to coastal refineries.

While the number of shipments traveling through the state increases, concerns over the transportation of the highly volatile product are on the rise.

Gropp said, Its a very flammable liquid, it presents itself a lot like gasoline so gasoline burns extremely hot, large quantities are tough to put out.

Since 2006, there have been 16 serious freight accidents on railroads in the U.S. and Canada involving trains carrying cruel oil or ethanol. That includes the train that derailed in Quebec last July and killed 47 people.

Yea, were all concerned because it would wipe out this whole area here, Ogden said something that could be that dangerous should not be transported on rail lines in populated areas like the Village of Fairport.

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