Today local leaders, first responders and rail officials met with Congressman Tim Walz in Waseca to talk freight rail shipping safety.
After recent derailments, from North Dakota to Waseca, today's talk might be wrapped up, but the communication is by no means over.
The railway systems are a huge part of Middle America's transportation process, because of the boom in crude oil in North Dakota; Minnesota officials are discussing the best route to take when it comes to shipping.
Representative Tim Walz (D – Minnesota) says, "What we're trying to do is make sure our transport of it is upgraded to that fact. We do all we can to prevent derailments, if we have one making sure they're not as severe as some of them like we've seen like in Castleton."
Making this topic...a very important one, especially to cities like Waseca that have railroads running through town.
Mayor Roy Srp says, "Rail safety is a very important topic to the city of Waseca, we have a railroad yard in our community that holds several hundred railroad cars and we have lines going east and west out of Waseca and it goes right through the middle of our community."
This coming after a string of derailments...like the one in Castleton, North Dakota that happened December 30th where 400 thousand gallons of crude spilled causing an explosive fireball. Even one in Waseca less than a month ago on March 31st.
Rep. Walz says, "When Castelton happened in North Dakota it captured the national attention because you have a gigantic fireball right outside of a community and many people were thinking what if that was Waseca, Winona, Wayzata or anywhere in that? Certainly, we had one and it was grain but it could have easily been something else."
It's hoped today's talks get everyone on the same page. Starting with city leaders getting a list of exactly what's in the train cars....from grain, to ethanol, to crude oil.
Mayor Srp says, "We will continue this conversation and it also has stressed how important, public–private partnerships are between community and private industry."
With an oil boom keeping railroads busy, and potential environmental concerns with many derailments, it's hoped an ongoing conversation will keep everyone on the right track.
In February, Rep. Walz called for and participated in a U.S. House of Representative Transportation and Infrastructure Hearing on rail shipping safety.