Analysis & Comment

Opinion | Over 1,000 Trains Derail Every Year in America. Let’s Bring That Number Down.

Credit…Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

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By David Sirota, Rebecca Burns, Julia Rock and Matthew Cunningham-Cook

Mr. Sirota, Ms. Burns, Ms. Rock and Mr. Cunningham-Cook are journalists at The Lever.

The recent freight train derailment and chemical fire in eastern Ohio that left thousands of nearby residents fearing for their health was not a one-off tragedy or a random life-imitating-art manifestation of Don DeLillo’s classic novel “White Noise.”

Instead, it was proof of just how dangerous America’s rail industry has become. The number of derailments has declined since the 1970s, but the United States still has over 1,000 derailments every year. And over the last seven years, the costs from derailments of trains carrying hazardous materials increased.

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