Defective NS Ties Could Affect Amtrak Operations

The National Association of Railroad Passengers is warning that Amtrak passengers on routes hosted by Norfolk Southern could be facing delays as the railroad replaces millions of defective cross ties.

NS recently alleged in a lawsuit filed in a Federal District Court in Alabama that Boatright Railroad Products failed to properly coat 4.7 million wood ties that it sold to NS.

Instead of treating the ties with creosote, the company used such substances as paint and motor oil to make the ties appear to be black. In its lawsuit, NS contends that the ties are deteriorating at faster than expected rate.

NARP said that the scope of work NS faces in replacing the defective ties and how that will affect Amtrak operations is not yet known, but it could affect several Amtrak routes operated by NS.

Deteriorating ties have been implicated in derailments in recent months, which sparked an investigation of the causes.

NARP said additional and more frequent inspections will be needed to prevent potentially catastrophic derailments of trains, including passenger trains and freight trains that carry such flammable materials as oil and ethanol.

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