Wolf seeks expert advice on crude-by-rail issues

Spurred by a string of fiery oil train derailments, Gov. Tom Wolf has hired a University of Delaware research professor to help guide him on policies related to rail safety.

Allan Zarembski, who directs the school’s railroad engineering and safety program, will evaluate the state’s freight rail system and advise Mr. Wolf on risk reduction and safety, according to a press release announcing the hire. Mr. Zarembski will also identify “areas of high risk and make recommendations for crude-by-rail safety measures,” the release said.

His contract will last for three months and he will be paid $38,000 for his services, according to a spokesman.

About 60 to 70 trains carrying crude oil travel on Pennsylvania railroads every day from the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota to refineries on the East Coast. 

“Pennsylvania sees some of the largest volume of Bakken crude oil transportation by rail in the United States and the potential for disaster is too great to ignore,” Mr. Wolf said in a statement. “Dr. Zarembski is an internationally recognized rail expert and he has extensive experience with rail safety and risk analysis.”

Before accepting a position in Delaware, Mr. Zarembski worked for nearly three decades with Zeta-Tech Associates, Inc., a railway technical consulting and applied technology company he founded in 1984.  

The announcement noted that Mr. Wolf has personally met with executives from Norfolk Southern and CSX Corp., the two major rail carriers in Pennsylvania, to discuss how to lower the risk of derailments. In February, he wrote to President Obama urging his administration to increase federal oversight of the rail industry.

Daniel Moore: dmoore@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2743 and Twitter @PGdanielmoore.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

<--Google analytics Ends-->