Feds requiring regional response teams to oil train wrecks

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Federal transportation officials are requiring railroads to establish regional response teams along oil train routes following a series of fiery derailments.

The new rule announced Thursday is aimed at having crews and equipment ready in the event of an accident. It applies to oil trains in continuous blocks of 20 or more loaded tank cars and those having 35 loaded tank cars.

The U.S. Department of Transportation says a review identified challenges that occurred during previous responses to derailments.

Rail carriers will be required to provide information about oil trains to emergency response agencies and identify someone to oversee each response zone along with organizations, crews and equipment to be used in a “worst-case discharge.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao says in a statement the rule “will make the transport of energy products by railroad safer.”