State rail inspectors responding to Custer train derailment
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Rail safety inspectors from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) are investigating the oil train derailment in Custer, Washington that happened just before noon yesterday.
The BNSF train was carrying crude oil when an estimated seven cars derailed, two of which caught fire. As a result, Interstate-5 was closed for about an hour from Grandview to Birch Bay. Lynden Dr. according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office ordered a 1/2-mile evacuation zone that was in effect for about four hours.
The UTC rail inspectors will assist Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) inspectors as they investigate the cause of the derailment.
The UTC partners with the FRA by providing state inspectors to help monitor compliance with federal safety rules and respond to incidents.
The UTC regulates railroad safety, including approving new grade crossings and closing or altering existing rail crossings, investigating train accidents, inspecting public-railroad crossings, approving safety projects and managing safety education through Operation Lifesaver.