Lazy eyes listen
On Tuesday morning, a Union Pacific train carrying coal derailed on the eastern outskirts of Gothenburg, Nebraska, the fourth such accident to strike the small town in just ten months. After 31 coal-carrying cars collided, emergency and railroad crews were dispatched to the scene to clean up.
“It seems to happen all the time,” Jesse Ambler, a local resident, told the Daily Mail. “The rail company keeps laying people off and building longer and longer trains,” he explained, describing the disaster-plagued stretch of tracks as “one of the busiest railways in America.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Union Pacific claimed that “no one was injured,” and that train traffic had already resumed on one of the three mainline tracks less than six hours after the accident. Its origins were still “under investigation.”
Last year, there were three other Union Pacific derailments in the area. Another coal train derailed southeast of Gothenburg in May, followed by a similar incident near the town a month later. The third occurred in November near Lexington.
Following a catastrophic incident in East Palestine, Ohio earlier this month, the public in the United States is increasingly concerned about an apparent increase in accidents. On February 3, a Norfolk Southern train carrying ten cars of hazardous materials mysteriously derailed on a straight stretch of track, leaking toxic chemicals such as vinyl chloride into the environment. Local authorities and the railroad company, eager to resume train service, set fire to the vinyl chloride in what was described to residents as a safe “controlled burn.”
Experts have warned, however, that the wreck and the massive toxic cloud created by the fire could result in one of the worst environmental disasters in US history. The Ohio River, which supplies drinking water to one-tenth of the US population, appeared to be thoroughly contaminated in a video posted on social media by locals. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s perceived failure to act decisively – or at all, until nearly three weeks after the crash – to address the situation in East Palestine has prompted calls for his resignation.