Rail safety

Matthew Brown / AP Photo

Railroad workers are speaking out against a proposal by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to have single-employee freight train crews. They say the idea is unsafe, especially in light of the increasing transportation of crude oil by rail.

Oran Viriyincy / Flickr

Rail is an increasingly popular option for commuters between Seattle and Everett. But there’s one big drawback: the tracks are plagued by falling mud, rocks, and plant material. Last winter, slides delayed 81 Amtrak trains, and 206 Sounder commuter trains.

Now heavy equipment is clearing debris from the slopes above the tracks and building walls to catch small stuff that slides. They’re also beefing up safety fences, which act like tripwires on the hillsides that automatically stop trains when there is a slide.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Sheriff's deputies and BNSF railroad police are investigating what they say are about a dozen instances of possible tampering with the tracks in southwest Washington. BNSF officials declined to make any connection with an ongoing labor dispute in Longview.