Readers Respond

Ban oil tanker trains in Baltimore City

When 14 train cars derail on a CSX freight line and leak a flammable substance, it makes you wonder what else might be traveling on these lines and what's the worst case scenario ("CSX train derails in Washington, leaks hazardous material," May 1).

It turns out the worst case is pretty bad. And it doesn't have to be.


Crude oil tanker trains travel through residential neighborhoods like mine in Charles Village, putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk every day.

Across the country, oil tanker train traffic has risen 4,000 percent over the past six years, and the increase has meant more derailments and explosions like the one in Quebec that leveled 30 buildings and killed 47 people in 2013.


What if Sunday morning's derailment had involved an oil train? There's a half-mile radius around oil trains called "the blast zone" — the area emergency responders say should be evacuated — and I live in that zone in Baltimore.

What else is in the "blast zone" in Baltimore? Churches, community centers and my daughter's school, for starters.

Local communities across the country are fighting to keep these trains out. In Baltimore, the City Council can pass a bill that would require public health and safety studies for crude oil trains in our city. Lawmakers should pass it as quickly as possible.

But ultimately, it's past time for federal leaders to step in: We need an immediate ban on oil trains. There's just no safe way to transport crude oil through neighborhoods like mine.

Chauna Brocht, Baltimore