Docket number: TR-121921
Track surfaces need repair in Skagit and Whatcom counties
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The state regulatory commission today fined Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) more than $100,000 for not repairing railroad crossing defects in Skagit and Whatcom counties.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) issued the $105,000 penalty after it found BNSF did not fix defects at seven railroad crossings brought to the company’s attention most recently in 2012.
The railroad company has 15 days to request a hearing, ask that the fine be reduced or pay the entire penalty. The commission sent BNSF a letter last Dec. 21, outlining the defects at the crossings and asking the company to fix them or propose a plan to repair them. In a follow-up Jan. 29 inspection, the UTC’s rail inspector revisited the defective crossing sites to find none had been repaired. The company had committed to repairing some of the defective crossings almost two years ago. As of today, the commission has not received a response from the company.
Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, the railroad company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. BNSF is the largest railroad company operating in Washington, with more than $103 million in revenues reported to the commission in 2011.
The UTC is the state agency responsible for railroad safety, including approving new grade crossings and closing or altering existing rail crossings. The agency investigates train accidents, inspects public-railroad crossings, approves rail-safety improvement projects and managers Operation Lifesaver, a rail-safety education program in Washington and nationwide.