Share This Page

'Bomb trains' in the A-K Valley

| Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

I am a native of East Vandergrift and have been pushing very hard for rail safety along the Norfolk Southern tracks. I fear another derailment — there have been four in my lifetime — as my mother's home is just 20 yards from the tracks.

We need to be prepared for the next tragedy.

I have petitioned Norfolk Southern for funding for local EMS, but they refuse to answer my emails. I've asked about which chemicals move through my hometown. Shouldn't the railroad help East Vandergrift prepare?

Frighteningly, part of East Vandergrift lies on “the other side of the tracks” between the railroad and the Kiski River. Those residents couldn't even escape a derailment in which chlorine gas leaked or crude oil or ethanol caught fire.

Pennsylvania trains no longer haul just “happy freight” — steel coils, iron ore and coal. These “bomb trains” stampede past my mother's home.

She refuses to move, so I'm trying to make changes and educate others to motivate them to make changes.

I've also sought support from local EMS officials such as Dan Stevens with Westmoreland County Emergency Management and Antony Buyny, serving East Vandergrift and Vandergrift.

I find it sad and disturbing that Norfolk Southern has no desire to help a small town terrorized by its trains. It hides behind a cloak of relief that the recent Vandergrift derailment was contained and there was no loss of life.

Had that same train derailed just a half mile down the line in East Vandergrift, the story might have been one of mass casualties. Just because we've been lucky does not mean we're prepared.

Julie Ann Floyd

Key West, Fla.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.