Derailments are a cause for community concern

Published 7:00 am Friday, July 4, 2014

Two train derailments in less than a week are cause for concern for Picayune residents, and should be an even bigger concern for the railroad industry.

Even though no one was seriously hurt in either derailment, these events demonstrate how a derailment in a heavily populated area could be detrimental.

While it is suspected the cause of both derailments was a faulty switch, a derailment can occur anywhere at anytime.

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Fortunately these incidents did not involve hazardous material that could have posed a threat to the safety or health of those living or working in the area.

But what if those trains had been carrying some sort of explosive or otherwise hazardous chemical?

There are procedures in place for local emergency responders to respond to such an incident, and while they will definitely put forth their best effort, they will be responding the aftermath of an accident that already occurred.

It is up to the railroad companies to put forth their best effort to prevent the need for emergency responders to conduct damage control.

One accident should be enough to get the rail company to rectify the problem the first time, but a second occurrence in such a short time leaves many questions unanswered as to if the problem was really fixed this time.

Railways are an essential transportation system; they bring necessary supplies across the country. Most of the major cities in this country were built around access to railroads, proving their necessity.

Picayune is one such town. There was no Interstate back in 1904 when the city was named. Railroads provided the backbone to the city’s economic development by allowing timber to be harvested and transported.

Such a vital part of the civil infrastructure needs a vigilant eye watching to ensure not only the safety of the train operators, but also the people around the tracks.