San Antonio Community Advisory Panel

Minutes of Meeting: San Antonio Fire Deparment Training Academy, April 2, 2013

Attending: Jessica Castiglione, Rene Chadick, Sid Covington, Lydi Fehr, Ray Garza, Ivan Jaime, Al Serna, Alison Schulze, Michael Moore, Buck Russel, Tim O’Brien, Linda Ximenes

Ivan Jaime opened the meeting at the San Antonio Fire Academy reporting that there had been no public safety problems since the last meeting. Freight cargo had increased except for coal, which has continued to decrease in volume due to the easy availability of natural gas.

Buck Russel, UP manager-Public Safety for this region , gave a very interesting presentation on public safety and some of the challenges facing UP in its efforts to protect the safety of the public and prevent accidents. He showed a series of photographs and video clips of train/vehicle accidents that showed the tremendous impact of a moving train on vehicles, including 18-wheelers. He asked the group to assist UP in communicating the importance of safety practices to avoid accidents with trains. He is available to make presentations to groups about safety around trains. Mr. Jaime asked the group to notify UP if they know of events occurring close to the track, possibly blocking it, so UP can work with the community to be sure there are no problems.

Russel reported one of the places where they are having the most difficulty is in the Eagle Ford Shale area, due to the high volume of truck traffic hauling supplies and waste to and from the drilling sites. The tracks in that area were not originally designed for such heavy traffic or such heavy loads, so many of them frequently are in need of repair. UP is working with several of the drilling companies who are investing in restoring the track that has been damaged by their trucks, and UP  also is working with the Texas Department of Transportation to coordinate road repairs in the area.

Russel also pointed out that in the event your vehicle is about to be hit by a train, you should run away from the track at a 45° angle to the train, heading in the direction the train is coming from.

Michael Moore, UP manager-HazMat, reported on hazmat procedures and UP’s role in addressing them. He outlined four specific areas of activities regarding hazardous materials:

  1. Prevention of releases;
  2. Preparedness in the event of an incident;
  3. Quick and Effective Response; and
  4. Recovery at the site and evaluation to improve for the future.

Only eight percent of the overall traffic on UP rails is hazardous materials and represents 50 percent of the insurance premium. The Common Carrier Law requires UP to haul anything that is properly labeled, even if it is a hazardous cargo.

 

The next CAP meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4, 2013, at Sunset Station, Harrisburg House.