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Published April 24, 2014, 11:12 PM

U.S. Secretary of Transportation discusses rail safety after train collision in Casselton

Casselton, ND (WDAY TV) - Months after the fiery train collision in Casselton, rail safety is still at the forefront of discussion. Thursday, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation met with community leaders, emergency responders, and BNSF officials in Casselton to talk about what's next in the quest for safer railroads.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Casselton, ND (WDAY TV) - Months after the fiery train collision in Casselton, rail safety is still at the forefront of discussion.

Thursday, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation met with community leaders, emergency responders, and BNSF officials in Casselton to talk about what's next in the quest for safer railroads.

Foxx said after coming here, he felt more invigorated and has a greater understanding about the need to move quickly.

He says North Dakota is at the center of the national issue of rail safety - especially when it comes to moving crude oil.

In this fire hall, about a mile away from explosions that rocked the city of Casselton four months ago, community leaders made their voices heard.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx paid a visit to talk about safety on railroads.

Anthony Foxx/U.S. Transportation Secretary: "I know the incident here in Casselton several months ago was a shock to the conscience of not only Casselton and North Dakota, but to our country."

In December, a grain train derailed, causing a fiery collision with a train hauling crude oil from the Bakken.

Since then, Foxx says they have already taken steps toward greater safety.

They asked oil producers to study how volatile the Bakken crude really is.

In February, the Association of American Railroads agreed to reduce speeds in populated areas, and increase inspections.

Casselton Mayor Ed McConnell says he thinks those increased inspections are key.

Ed McConnell/Casselton Mayor: "The railroad is obviously moving a lot more trains through here than it ever has in the past. When you're using a system hard like that, things tend to go wrong."

But that is only the beginning.

Next week, the DOT will send a rulemaking package to the OIRA, including options for enhancing tank car standards.

McConnell: "People in my town would certainly sleep a lot better tonight knowing we've done everything we can."

Today, Secretary Foxx said he'd be sending a letter to oil producers asking for whatever results they have from those tests on Bakken crude.

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