BLACKWELL, Okla. (KSNW) -- The Federal Railroad Administration has shut down a railroad that operated between Blackwell, Oklahoma, and Wellington, Kansas over what it calls "a complete disregard for the safety of the public."
The Blackwell Northern Gateway Railroad has been under investigation since a derailment that happened on Dec. 27, 2023. The administration says problems began after the railroad was purchased on Oct. 1.
Since that date, the FRA says the railroad has had two derailments and an incident where a train nearly collided with a passenger vehicle during what they called "a highly dangerous movement of on-track equipment through an unprotected highway-rail grade crossing."
The FRA says in addition to BNGR's complete disregard for public safety, the railroad has not resolved issues that "pose an imminent threat of injury or death." According to the agency, the railroad has no qualified engineers and conductors, has not provided training for qualified engineers and conductors, and hasn't maintained any safety records, or records of employees qualified to perform inspections and operate inspection equipment.
In addition, the FRA accuses the railroad of having employees falsify records and documents. The agency says they have significant evidence that the co-owner, who is not qualified to operate a train, twice operated a train engine leading to the two derailments between October and December of 2023.
The track in question is a 37-mile stretch between Blackwell and Wellington. You can read the full report and findings below.
A message has been left with the phone number listed for Blackwell Northern Gateway Railroad seeking comment.