Two weeks ago, we called on northwesterners to start tracking oil train movements as they pass through local communities. It looks like people are responding to the call: our first oil trainspotting video comes from Everett, and it’s up on Facebook. It shows an empty oil train heading south and then east toward Stevens Pass, presumably returning to the Bakken oil fields.
Meanwhile, the good folks at the Sierra Club’s Snohomish County chapter have begun providing some systematic rigor to the exercise. They’re staffing track-side locations to count every fossil fuel train that passes by during the course of one week. You can sign up for a four-hour shift here.
Shortly after we published our post, The Oregonian‘s Rob Davis, who has reported extensively on oil train issues, produced a photo guide on how to tell an oil train apart from others. It’s a very useful resource for would-be “railfans,” as train-watchers call themselves.
So, have stuff you want to share?
- Photos: Upload them to our public Flickr pool. (Note that submissions will be monitored for relevant content.)
- Video: If you get a video of an oil train in the Northwest, upload it to YouTube. Title your video “NW Oil Tank Car Watch [location], [direction of travel], [date & time].” It will help us all begin to learn more about what’s traveling through our communities.
Vancouver Action Network will be using a FLIR hydrocarbon viewing video camera and summa canisters to monitor the oil trains passing through Vancouver, WA between April 16 – 23. Please see our blog for more information about how you can help.
Matt Landon with Vancouver Action Network
You can now particpate in Washington State Train Watch anytime!
Vancouver Action Network has started a Twitter feed which appears on our blog (vancouveractionnetwork.blogspot.com) and Facebook page which contains information about 100% oil trains actively traveling through WA. If the railroads won’t provide the info then we will provide it ourselves.
How to volunteer–
If you are interested in being a Washington State Train Watcher the steps are super easy. First you need to sign up for a free Twitter account with your real or chosen fake name. If you can type an email or send a text you can use Twitter. Next you will need to watch for trains and Tweet (Twitter language) the following information including time of day/night, city/location, direction of 100% oil train travel(if known), and the hashtag #waoiltrainwatch (It is really important to type the hashtag #waoiltrainwatch correctly so that your watching efforts appear in our Twitter feed)
You can go to our blog or FB page to see your public posting.
***********Please make sure that all info you post is accurate to the best of your knowledge so our data remains credible.********
We feel empowered to generate this publicly accesible Train Watch document in order to enforce the DOT May 7, 2014 order which states that railroads can be fined for not disclosing movements of oil trains to local and state Emergency Management Agencies. This is a type of citizen oversight.
We are encouraging First Responders, elected officials, and the public to follow us on Twitter for the latest updates about real time oil train movments which the railroads are refusing to provide.
We are also encouraging citizens to start Train Watchs in other states using this decentralized organizing model.
Cheers, Matt Landon with Vancouver Action Network