OAN’s Taylor Tinsley
10:32 AM – Friday, June 30, 2023
Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw says the company’s key focus is improving safety.
Ever since a toxic train derailment forced about half of the village of East Palestine’s estimated 5,000 residents to evacuate back in February, Shaw has echoed vows to make improvements to Norfolk Southern’s safety and service.
“I’m really focused on the safety outcome here and what my expectation is is that we will not put an unsafe rail car out onto our network,” Shaw told the Associated Press.
Shaw was named CEO of the company in May 2022. He previously said improvement plans include adding more trackside detectors, which help find mechanical defects along rail lines.
The company has nearly 1,000 detectors and the National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report that suggested overheating wheel bearing caused the February 3rd derailment.
Wayside hotbox detectors picked up the wheel bearing heating up for several miles before it hit 253 degrees fahrenheit. The three-person freight train crew was warned and tried to prevent the upcoming disaster, but weren’t able to slow down quickly enough before the train came off the tracks.
Shaw’s remarks came after 12 out of Norfolk Southern’s 13 unions recently signed a letter promising to cooperate on improving railroad safety. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Union was the only not to sign. Members question whether Shaw is actually creating change and cited concern with a lack of training for workers on furlough.
“That interaction and that engagement with our craft colleagues is really important to me,” Shaw said. “I need all 20,000 voices at Norfolk Southern pushing for safety. And that’s what you’re going to see.”
The company also recently hired an expert in nuclear power. Shaw maintains NS is a “safe railroad” that continues to make “a lot of progress.”
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