Oil trains in metro area prompt response from Dayton

Oil train
A train carrying oil cars moves through the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail yard in Minneapolis, July 30, 2014.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News 2014

Gov. Mark Dayton has told the head of BNSF Railway that he is deeply concerned about oil trains traveling between Willmar, Minn., and the Twin Cities, a route that had not been identified as an oil train corridor.

Dayton said the presence of such trains puts an additional 99,000 Minnesotans within a half-mile of an oil train route. He noted particular risks for Target Field, the University of Minnesota and downtown Minneapolis.

A statement from BNSF Wednesday afternoon said the railroad would be "talking directly with the Governor on his concerns and our ongoing efforts to safely move all commodities by rail."

Oil trains had already been moving along the route, the statement said, and the railroad had notified the state of an increase in volume to accommodate construction work.

"In all areas of the metro region where we move crude oil and other hazmat, we take a number of steps to reduce risk," the statement said.

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