Public rail safety meeting to be held in Albany

Posted at: 08/01/2013 5:23 PM | Updated at: 08/01/2013 5:32 PM
By: Abigail Bleck

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ALBANY - On Thursday evening, residents, experts and elected leaders will gather to discuss rail safety in Albany.

It's not the first time the city addressed the issue, a resolution calling for rail safety passed back in 2007.

But in light of the recent train accident in Quebec that killed close to 50, it was decided it needed to be discussed again.

The city of Albany isn't unique in that its tracks run parallel to downtown.  Close to homes, businesses and major highways.

Thursday night’s public safety meeting is in response to a July rail accident, just across the US border in Quebec. 

Dozens died when a freight train carrying hazardous substances sped out of control and crashed.  Many of the affected cars were the DOT 111. 

And 69 percent of the freighters that deliver crude oil or ethanol to the port of Albany daily are of the same design.

It would be up to the federal government to ban the 111 cars, which New York's Senior Senator Chuck Schumer maintains is on his agenda. 

Still, the city of Albany wants its voice to be heard on the understandably timely issue.

 “We can't mandate to private industry you can't have this but we can be as conscious as we can...deal with” said Barbara Smith of the Albany Common Council.

Which is exactly why Thursday nights meeting is being held--to educate the public and make them aware not only of what could happen...but also...what's already being done.

“We have a great fire department, state assets here there are neighboring departments to help us out.  They train and drill on these things on a regular basis,” said Rick Matthews of the National Center for Security &  Preparedness.

The public safety meeting on these rail issues is at City Hall beginning at 5:30 p.m.



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