Public in dark about what train cars are carrying

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Train cars continued to burn Tuesday in West Virginia after a collision ignited a fireball. The train was carrying crude oil from North Dakota when 19 cars derailed on Monday. Only one person was injured, but hundreds of people were forced to evacuate their homes.

Could it happen here?

Major cargo rail routes run throughout the area, even in highly populated areas like Downtown Austin, Round Rock and San Marcos. The biggest rail carrier locally, Union Pacific, has tracks right next to MoPac and Interstate 35.

About 20 years ago, rail cars spilled chemicals near what is now the Dell Diamond.

When it comes to finding out what the cars are carrying, it is incredibly difficult. A Union Pacific spokesperson said the railroad provides routing information to emergency responders as needed. However, due to safety concerns and customer confidentiality requirements, they say this information is not available to the general public.

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