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What hazardous materials are shipped along Utah railroads?

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – How much do we really know about what is being transported along Utah’s rail systems? The question is being asked following multiple incidents of derailed trains in the state.

Union Pacific Railroad was the only transport company that could provide insight Wednesday night.

In 2018, 259,178 Union Pacific cars originated in Utah and 210,731 came from out of state.

The most common commodities shipped by Union Pacific are; agricultural products, automotive, chemicals, coal, industrial products, intermodal, Mexico Markets and hazardous materials.

“We are legally required to hall hazmat. All railroads are,” said Kristen South, Union Pacific Railroad.

The cars shipping these hazardous materials are not owned by Union Pacific.

The information about what hazardous materials are inside isn’t public record.

“In case of an incident there is a program available for first responders to find out immediately what is in the railcars. But of course, as you can imagine, for safety and security reasons, we cannot publish what is in the cars ahead of time for the general public,” explained South.

In 2018, 31 rail equipment accidents, just in Utah, were reported to the Federal Railroad Administration. This year already, Utah has seen more than 21.

“Transport by rail is 99.99 percent safe. There are very few incidents involving hazmat,” said South.

All rail companies do have a transport manifest. That also isn’t public information.

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