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FRA Scrutinizes Railroad Merger Due to Safety Concerns

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. wants to merge with Norfolk Southern Corp., but federal regulators in the US worry that mergers of large railroads could lead to railroad safety concerns.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulates rail safety in the United States, and is looking carefully at the proposed merger, as it scrutinizes safety worries that could result when such large railroad companies merge.

Some of the challenges include the combination of the safety cultures of two different companies. Specifically, FRA wants to know which company’s safety rules and protocols would be followed first, and how to build the newly combined workforce so that communication channels remain open.

FRA may not block a railroad merger; the Surface Transportation Board must approve it. However, the FRA does work with railroads on safety integration plans to make sure that safe operations continue when a merger occurs.

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One of the major safety concerns is related to oil train safety. The last few years have seen several fiery derailments of oil-laden trains that led to serious injuries and deaths. One of those cases occurred in Lynchburg VA, where an oil train derailed and spilled thousands of gallons of crude oil into the James River.

Our railroad injury attorneys are pleased that the FRA is looking carefully at this proposed merger and is ensuring that public safety takes precedence above all else. Our experience with railroads in personal injury lawsuits tells us that such large corporations are quick to put profit ahead of safety at times.

In a record setting $60 million verdict in a train derailment case, we represented a man who suffered terrible injuries when a Norfolk Southern train derailed and crashed into his gas station. Even though it was obvious from the huge amount of evidence we brought to the case that the railroad was clearly at fault, Norfolk Southern denied responsibility for a full year.

Anyone who suffers an injury in any kind of railroad accident should know that the railroad often will try to deny responsibility, so it behooves you to consult with an expert railroad personal injury attorney in your area about the case. Look for a law firm that has a record of multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts in train accidents and derailments.