The following is the text of a news release from Union Pacific. Failing lag bolts on a curve near Mosier were the direct cause of the oil train derailment, spill and fire at Mosier on June 3:
Union Pacific completed its rail fastening system replacement work throughout the eight miles of curved track in the Columbia River Gorge. The track throughout the curves is secured with a fastening system that includes spikes instead of lag bolts, enhancing defect detectability during inspections.
“We have a clear focus – to safely operate our trains and protect our communities,” said Wes Lujan, Union Pacific vice president – Public Affairs, Western Region. “The fastening system replacement reinforces our commitment to rail safety in the Gorge as we strive to improve upon our 99.98 percent hazardous materials safety record and achieve our goal of zero incidents.”
The company has made considerable safety improvements, reducing reportable derailments across the network by 35 percent from 2000 to 2015. In Oregon specifically, Union Pacific reduced reportable derailments by 58 percent from 2000 to 2015.