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Mr. Jefferies mentioned the railroads had taken a number of steps after the East Palestine accident to enhance security. Beforehand, the business required that railroads cease and take away a rail automobile if a wheel bearing’s temperature hit 200 levels Fahrenheit. In July, the affiliation required that motion at 170 levels. (The wheel bearing on the East Palestine prepare at one level reached 253 levels, in keeping with a track-side detector.)

Union Pacific, the biggest railroad in the USA as decided by miles of observe, reported a 32 p.c enhance in accidents within the interval. Kristen South, an organization spokeswoman, mentioned that some accidents, like these attributable to objects on the observe, have been past a railroad’s management and that the main target needs to be on “severe” derailments, a class that she mentioned fell 5 p.c final yr at Union Pacific.

BNSF, the second-largest U.S. railroad, owned by Warren E. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, confirmed a ten p.c enhance in accidents within the interval. Kendall Kirkham Sloan, a BNSF spokeswoman, mentioned that the corporate was the most secure railroad within the nation, based mostly on the federal authorities’s measures of security, and that accidents have been being decreased by coaching and know-how.

CSX, the third-largest railroad, reported a 31 p.c enhance in accidents within the 10-month interval. Bryan Tucker, a spokesman, mentioned the corporate’s security efficiency had been “challenged” by its hiring of many new staff after the pandemic, however final yr it bolstered its coaching, and that contributed to a steep drop in accidents within the fourth quarter. Because of this, CSX on Wednesday reported an accident price — which measures accidents as a share of the distances traveled by trains — that was barely decrease in 2023 than in 2022. (Its whole accidents nonetheless rose.)

The 5 railways’ whole efficiency final yr would have been worse had it not been for vital enchancment at Norfolk Southern, which reported 29 accidents within the first 10 months of 2023 on its principal traces, down 37 p.c from 46 in the identical interval of 2022.

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