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Following series of accidents, Walker asks for meeting with freight rail companies

Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio

Following a series of accidents involving oil trains over the past year, Gov. Scott Walker is asking that a meeting be set up with freight rail companies.

Trains carrying crude oil have exploded in Canada and North Dakota over the last year, and another oil train had a derailment this week in Philadelphia.

At least two freight rail companies roll black tanker cars full of oil through Wisconsin. Walker said he wants state Railroad Commissioner Jeff Plale to meet with the rail companies and other key parties to discuss two key points.

“Paramount is public safety,” said Walker. “But obviously when lines have problems, it’s not only a public safety issue – it stops commerce.”

Oil train shipments are up in Wisconsin, and may continue to rise as more crude oil comes out of North Dakota and heads to refineries. There have been derailments of freight trains carrying other commodities in Wisconsin over the last year, including a major coal train derailment last Sunday in Racine County.