Comments

  • guest12345
    no I'm not trying to start anything! I just try to have fun!

    June 16, 2009 at 3:22 p.m.
  • if it was a bad chemical spill, they would have reported it, Safety for others was reported and they got back to their homes pretty quick, and that is a good sign. More important no one was hurt.

    June 16, 2009 at 1:25 p.m.
  • This isn’t the first chemical train derailment to occur close to Schulenburg. In early 1993, a Southern Pacific (since bought out by Union Pacific) train derailed around 4:00 AM about three quarters of a mile farther west of the bridge when the raised rail bed partially collapsed. More than 10 cars, carrying 98% sulfuric acid left the tracks and turned over with four of them spilling their contents. There was a right of way approximately 100 feet wide between the raised rail bed and a road that paralleled the tracks at that point. Three of the cars crossed over the road and into a small field on the other side and turned over while another car turned over and spilled on the opposite side of the tracks.

    I was the Safety Manager in the Houston office of Ohio Hazardous Materials, an emergency hazmat response company. We were hired by Southern Pacific to contain and clean up the spill. Our first crew arrived less than three hours after the spill and was able to build a dirt dam across the right of way just before the sulfuric acid, slowly draining down a slight slope, reached the Navidad River. If the acid had reached the river, it would have been a major disaster.

    We wound up with about forty people working the accident plus a large crew from Southern Pacific which also at its own hazmat team at the site. We brought in tanker trucks full of powered lye which was pumped on the contaminated ground and thus neutralized the acid. Later the soil was removed to a depth of approx. three feet and replaced with uncontaminated dirt throughout the spill area.

    The fumes from the acid bleached the trees and shrubs snow white while the ground was burned black. It looked like a lunar landscape for about three hundred yards. We spent two weeks cleaning up the site. It was dangerous work for a while, requiring the use of acid proof suits as well as respirators. Later, the remaining rail cars were off-loaded. Fortunately there were no injuries and not a lot of private property damage, except for a small pond stocked with catfish on the other side of the tracks. The catfish were definitely cooked. We later learned that So. Pac. had the pond dug out, refilled with clean water and restocked with catfish.

    It was also fortunate that no houses were nearby or people would certainly been injured or killed by the fumes.

    June 16, 2009 at 12:52 p.m.
  • I wasn't saying the line should be taken out or anything Archie, I just said it worries me. I never said anything about it not being worth it, or that we'd be better off shipping by mule train. You are just trying to start something ugly on here.

    I said it's a concern. With more train traffic, there's more chances of idiots getting creamed by them, thinking they can beat them. And, there really are a lot of chemicals that go through our town for the various plants and beyond, so even though it is statistically rare for chemical spills to occur, it's still a concern for me.

    I live out Cuero-way, and have twice seen on the trains that run between Victoria and Cuero, a disconnection in the middle of the train. And this was NOT in the section where there are two tracks where one can wait while another goes by and/or can be re-arranging cars right there. Once it was right in front of the Nusery school area, so I KNOW it wasn't meant to be that way. So if disconnections can happen, so can derailments. One happened right at the Victoria/Dewitt county line within the past year, according to our local tv news. And I think within the past 2 years, one derailed in Cuero. I'm not sure of the timeline on that, but I do remember seeing several cars off the track, and a couple turned over, right next to the tracks on the Hwy 87 crossover in town.

    So, seeing another one in the nearby area of Schulenburg occur is just a scary thing. That's all I'm saying...

    June 16, 2009 at 11:45 a.m.
  • guest12345

    so I guess we should ship everything by mule trains!

    June 16, 2009 at 11:12 a.m.
  • I am no longer concerned about that happening with the new line re-opening here in Victoria. Initially, I was very upset as I live in the Brentwood neighborhood and I thought "what if -- what if...." I researched and did the statistics -- I have a better chance of winning the Lottery than of a train derailing and spilling toxic chemicals into my neighborhood.

    Yes, when the train comes by and I'm trying to leave or return to my neighborhood, it'll be inconvienient, but it could be a lot worse.

    And the owners of Stewart and Stevenson put in a road that emergency crews can access during an emergency and a train is coming....

    June 16, 2009 at 9:48 a.m.
  • This type of thing is pretty scary. With the re-opening of the line on (Business) 59, it makes the odds something like that could happen in Victoria go up even more.

    I'd like to know why the authorities didn't have information on the type of chemical spilled. The train conductors/officials should know exactly what they're carrying on each car at all times, and be able to relate that to authorities ASAP, to protect the citizens when something like that occurs. SCARY!

    June 16, 2009 at 9:15 a.m.