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More Oil Trains Expected in N. Idaho Raise Safety Concerns

ThinkStock, Jennifer Dodge

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — The number of oil trains moving through north Idaho is expected to increase in coming years, raising fears of a catastrophic accident. BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas says they move an average of 1.5 loaded oil trains through north Idaho each day. The trains roll through Sandpoint, Athol, Rathdrum and Hauser from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota and Montana to coastal refineries. The Coeur d’Alene Press reported that an oil train typically has about 100 rail cars and each car holds about 29,000 gallons. Union Pacific, the other railroad that transports commodities through the Idaho Panhandle, carries crude that is interspersed with other products. That’s according to spokesman Aaron Hunt. Melonas said the volume of oil trains coming through North Idaho is expected to increase.

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