Quebec Disaster Raises Safety Concerns About Shipping Oil by Rail

The explosion of a runaway oil train in Canada highlights the risks that come with transporting oil, no matter what the method.

The Quebec disaster on Saturday is raising fresh questions about the relative safety of shipping oil by train, compared to pipelines. Rail transport of crude oil has been on the rise as the industry awaits a final ruling from the Obama Administration on construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, linking Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.

"I can tell you from my years of experience in the industry that this is a very isolated incident. Runaway trains just don't happen."

Charles Culver is a railroad operations consultant based in League City. A certified locomotive engineer, Culver worked for Union Pacific for twenty-five years.

"This is just a, overall, a very efficient and safe method of transportation for oil and chemicals, and I don't think there's really going to be any long term repercussions to the industry based on this."

The Quebec disaster is the fourth freight train incident in Canada this year involving crude oil shipments.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...