Tuesday, January 8, 2018
(WRDW/WAGT) - You might live outside the evacuated area in Jefferson County, but if you live in the CSRA, you likely live or work near train tracks. Many of you will hear a train tonight from the comfort of your living room. That's why our I-Team has been mapping out tracks today.
It's probably not a surprise there are a lot of tracks in our area, but a map from the Federal Railroad Administration really shows you how congested it is in our area. It becomes even more crowded when you zoom in to look for your street.
Our I-Team found more than 1,700 miles of Norfolk Southern tracks in Georgia alone. That's about the distance from Miami, Florida to the upper part of Maine. In South Carolina, Norfolk Southern has more than 700 miles of track, significantly fewer than the Peach State. However, in our area, Norfolk Southern track circles Aiken; the accident 14 years ago in Graniteville comes to mind.
CSX also has far more miles of track in Georgia than it does in South Carolina.
When our I-Team started looking at derailments, we noticed that all accidents are "self-reported." That means the railroad company itself has to speak up.
Railroad companies don't always do the right thing.
Our I-Team uncovered 322 "accident/incident reporting violations" in just 2018, and those are just the ones the Federal Railroad Administration found out about. How many others happened that we don't know about? We also found violations about hazardous materials. Just last year, there were 3,026 HAZMAT violations. Again, those are just the ones reported to the Federal Railroad Administration.