railroads

Washington’s rail safety regulator says there are about 3,000 rail crossings in the state that inspectors have never looked at. That's because they're on private land.

Environmental regulators in Washington state are expecting a lively crowd Thursday in the coastal city of Hoquiam.

Flickr Photo/Russ Allison Loar (CC BY-NC-ND)

Have you been wondering about the Port of Portland’s position on oil by rail? If so, you’re not alone.

As more and more oil by rail developments crop up around the Pacific Northwest, the port has received “numerous inquiries” about whether it, too, would be willing and able to receive shipments of crude from the Bakken oil fields.

Opponents of a planned oil-by-rail terminal urged Port of Vancouver USA commissioners at their meeting Tuesday to cancel its lease with terminal companies Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies, raising several arguments against what would be the largest oil-to-marine terminal in the Northwest. But that terminal might not be the biggest factor affecting oil train traffic through the city.

In Olympia, state lawmakers are going down divergent tracks in how to respond to the rapid increase of crude oil trains crossing the region.

Few Railcars Carrying Flammable Oil Get Inspected

Jan 14, 2014
Flickr Photo/Russ Allison

As we researched a recent story about train shipments of oil, we asked Washington and Oregon officials: How many of the trains coming through the Northwest are inspected?

Transportation Safety Board of Canada

The oil-by-rail boom is underway, and with that, several high-profile, fiery derailments.  

But state officials don't have the information they need to prepare for an oil train mishap because railroad and oil companies are not required to disclose much on shipments or response strategies.

EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

New research results suggest coal trains are contributing to the Northwest’s air pollution.

That’s according to the preliminary results of a University of Washington atmospheric and environmental scientist’s crowdfunded study.

Take a drive down any highway in the Northwest, and you'll pass signs for dozens of small towns. There are more than 700 cities under 10,000 people in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Many of these towns came about because of railroads or timber or mines and now they’re trying to figure out what comes next.

It's nearly 2:15 in Avery, Idaho. The mail has arrived. And the post office is about to become the busiest place in town.