Oil train derailment near Mosier

Use this forum to post links to news stories from other websites - ones that other hikers might find interesting. This is not intended for original material or anecdotal information. You can reply to any news stories posted, but do not start a new thread without a link to a specific news story.
User avatar
Waffle Stomper
Posts: 3577
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Oil train derailment near Mosier

Post by Waffle Stomper » July 9th, 2016, 3:00 pm

You are right, there is no clear answer.

Most of the oil transported here is intended for shipping overseas, which also justifies proposed terminals in Oregon and Washington. Quick research showed me that Oregon has zero refineries and Washington has five, which get most of their oil from Alaska and by pipeline from Canada.

Perhaps landowners in eastern and central Oregon will be open to having a pipeline on their properties, but I don't believe they will accept it lightly. I have found farm and timber interests don't appreciate having a permanent easement on their property unless there is a long term lease that provides them with a regular income, which I suspect is unlikely, but then I don't know how pipeline agreements are written.

In time I guess we will see how it all shakes out.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 12742
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Oil train derailment near Mosier

Post by retired jerry » July 9th, 2016, 5:45 pm

I only half listened, but I thought I heard that the oil trains to Vancouver, and then onto tankers was for West coast refineries.

They could go to California also.

User avatar
Waffle Stomper
Posts: 3577
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Oil train derailment near Mosier

Post by Waffle Stomper » July 9th, 2016, 6:00 pm

retired jerry wrote:I only half listened, but I thought I heard that the oil trains to Vancouver, and then onto tankers was for West coast refineries.

They could go to California also.
I had read that that train's cargo was headed intended to ship out, but looking further it was going to a refinery in Tacoma. You are correct. However, that does not change the discussion regarding how oil should be transported in the most safe way.

But I have gotten sidetracked from my original comment. I am concerned about the overall safety of rail transport of all toxic chemicals. It doesn't matter whether it is a mile long train or a half mile long train, it could have been any unfortunate train that was derailed. The spilled oil is probably not my biggest concern. It was handled fairly swiftly with comparatively little interruption in people's lives. Mosier was lucky that day.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 12742
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Oil train derailment near Mosier

Post by retired jerry » July 9th, 2016, 6:51 pm

But the number of hazardous cars matters.

If a train derails, only a few cars will actually derail. If the train contains all oil cars, then oil cars will certainly be derailed. If the train only contains one hazardous car, then it probably won't be the one that gets derailed.

And crude is about the nastiest stuff on a train. If that Mosier derailment had been a mile either way where the rail bed goes into the river, there would have been a huge spill into the river. I think that would have been about as bad as any car of chlorine or anything.

I'm not saying other hazards aren't important, but if there were no oil trains, that would be a huge reduction in risk. They could afford to have the few remaining hazardous cars be super expensive double hulled super duper cars.

User avatar
Waffle Stomper
Posts: 3577
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Oil train derailment near Mosier

Post by Waffle Stomper » July 9th, 2016, 7:32 pm

Well, this was a mile long train. 11 of those cars derailed and not all of those cars leaked or burned. None of the residents suffered injury. We can debate back and forth over possible scenarios, including a cloud of gas travelling over the freeway or into the community. It seems we should agree that it is reasonable to demand a higher standard for track maintenance. What if it was an Amtrak train with passengers?
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 12742
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Oil train derailment near Mosier

Post by retired jerry » July 10th, 2016, 5:50 am

I don't really disagree with you about anything :)

They are saying that maybe if they walked the track, they would have noticed the problem. It seems like there's an opportunity for some high tech inspection tool that would automatically detect this type of defect.

The oil trains are harder on the track. On turns, the oil sloshes around in the tank and put more stress on the track. Maybe they need to frequently walk the track on turns.

User avatar
Waffle Stomper
Posts: 3577
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Oil train derailment near Mosier

Post by Waffle Stomper » July 10th, 2016, 6:37 am

retired jerry wrote:I don't really disagree with you about anything :)

They are saying that maybe if they walked the track, they would have noticed the problem. It seems like there's an opportunity for some high tech inspection tool that would automatically detect this type of defect.

The oil trains are harder on the track. On turns, the oil sloshes around in the tank and put more stress on the track. Maybe they need to frequently walk the track on turns.
And that would be good for all.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir

User avatar
miah66
Posts: 2029
Joined: July 6th, 2009, 8:00 pm

Re: Oil train derailment near Mosier

Post by miah66 » July 11th, 2016, 9:18 am

In addition to the oil trains and whether or not they should be transporting them through the gorge at all, there is the question of the amount planned. If all the terminals that are planned are actually built, there will be an incredible increase in oil-by-rail traffic, as many as 10 mile-long trains per day on both sides of the gorge, much more than currently passes through, and there is not any contingency for it. It's just business as usual, and when, not if, they derail and/or explode, gorge residents will be the ones to bear the burden. They'll just move those cars to the side and shipping will continue as we've already seen.

Combined with the huge coal terminals that are proposed, the Gorge is set to become the nations coal and oil export highway.
"The top...is not the top" - Mile...Mile & a Half

Instagram @pdxstrider

User avatar
Chip Down
Posts: 1780
Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Oil train derailment near Mosier

Post by Chip Down » July 11th, 2016, 7:38 pm

Interesting that this non-hiking topic just goes on and on, like a 200 car oil train.

I've been paying more attention to gorge trains since this event. Sometimes there are random tankers mixed in with other goods, sometimes it's a long train of tankers only. Of course, I don't know what's in those tanks.

"I don't think they [the elite] scare all that easily. Instead rising opposition just inspires them to think of new and better ways to exert control"
Yeah, that's probably true. I guess we need to think of new and better ways to fight back.

"Most of the oil transported here is intended for shipping overseas"
I've always said that if you don't approve of the extraction of Resource X, you should reduce your consumption of Resource X, and vote with your pocketbook. But of course that all falls apart when exports get into the picture.

"I only half listened"
That strategy has served me well.

"If that Mosier derailment had been a mile either way where the rail bed goes into the river, there would have been a huge spill into the river."
Interesting point. I hadn't really considered that. I mean, it's obvious, but I hadn't specifically looked at the RR path with respect to RR spills. There certainly are spots in the gorge where the RR is on water to the left and to the right.

"I don't really disagree with you about anything"
Retired Jerry continues to display an adept ability to show how to get ahead in life. This explains his ability to retire while still vibrant enough to enjoy hiking.

"It seems like there's an opportunity for some high tech inspection tool that would automatically detect this type of defect." I've been wondering if they could send out a little pilot car, a little 300 lb thing that just rides the rail a few hundred yards ahead of the train and sends back a warning if something is amiss. Obviously, that's just the brainstorm of a layperson, so possibly there's some reason it's not practical.

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 12742
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Oil train derailment near Mosier

Post by retired jerry » July 12th, 2016, 5:56 am

Or maybe every train should have sensors on it. Probably before catastrophic failure you can detect it's starting to fail.

Yeah, I recommend retiring. Much better than working. Although I enjoyed working too, so maybe it's just enjoy life :)

Post Reply