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Railroad Takes Responsibility for Accidents

March 19, 1998| From Times Wire Services

Union Pacific Corp. takes "full responsibility" for a series of accidents that claimed 11 lives on the carrier's 36,000-mile system last year, Jerry Davis, the railroad's president, said Wednesday.

Davis told a hearing of the National Transportation Safety Board that the company is committed "to making sure nothing like that ever happens again on our railroad."

The NTSB is investigating more than a dozen accidents on Union Pacific rail lines during traffic snarls that have crippled shipping and related industries since the railroad acquired Southern Pacific Rail Corp. in 1996.

Dow Chemical Co., meanwhile, said it filed suit against Union Pacific in a bid to recover $25 million in added costs it said the traffic problems have cost it thus far.

Davis denied that the company's operational problems led it to lower its safety efforts. "At no time did we call a timeout on safety," he said.

Federal Railroad Administrator Jolene Molitoris said her agency is proposing that major mergers be approved only after the carriers draw up detailed safety plans.

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