Federal authorities close railway operator linking Oklahoma and Kansas due to safety concerns

The Federal Railroad Administration has taken the decision to close down a railroad that ran between Blackwell, Oklahoma, and Wellington, Kansas. This action was taken due to what the administration describes as a “complete disregard for the safety of the public.”

The Blackwell Northern Gateway Railroad has come under scrutiny following a derailment incident on December 27, 2023. According to the authorities, issues started arising after the railroad was acquired on October 1.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), since that particular date, the railroad has experienced two derailments and a near collision incident involving a train and a passenger vehicle. The FRA labeled this incident as a “highly dangerous movement of on-track equipment through an unprotected highway-rail grade crossing.”

According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), BNGR not only shows a complete disregard for public safety but also fails to address issues that pose a significant risk of injury or death. The agency highlights several concerns, including the lack of qualified engineers and conductors, failure to provide proper training for them, and the absence of safety records and employee qualifications for inspections and operation of inspection equipment.

The FRA has accused the railroad of employees falsifying records and documents. According to the agency, there is substantial evidence that the co-owner, who lacks the necessary qualifications to operate a train, operated a train engine on two occasions, resulting in two derailments between October and December of 2023.

The track in question spans 37 miles, running from Blackwell to Wellington. You can find the complete report and findings below.

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