Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

New federal rules about the safety of rail cars that carry crude oil through upstate New York towns like Syracuse don’t go far enough according to Sen. Charles Schumer. He says it’s now time for Congress to get involved.

Schumer doesn’t like the long-awaited Department of Transportation regulations meant to improve the safety of the train cars carrying flammable substances, which he calls "TNT on wheels.”

"There are serious holes in the regulations the DOT commissioner put out, and we’re going to fill those holes, and fill them immediately,” said the senator.

New York State Department of Transportation

New standards for how crude oil is shipped along rail lines through states like New York are moving forward, but Sen. Charles Schumer says the process needs to move faster.

The crude oil crossing the nation now is hauled in train cars known as DOT-111’s. Safety advocates say the cars are outdated and lack equipment to stop leaks or explosions. Introducing newer models has been a slow process. 

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO (file photo)

Sen. Charles Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are welcoming the announcement today by the federal Department of Transportation for increased safety measures for rail cars that carry crude oil.

With more oil being shipped via train from the Bakken region in North Dakota and adjacent Canada to the East Coast, and more accidents involving those tanker cars, safety concerns have been growing.

Schumer told reporters today that he hopes the rules will be implemented as soon as possible.

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the Department of Transportation to retrofit or phase out a specific type of railway car that carries crude oil and ethanol. The DOT-111 is the same kind of tank car as those that derailed and exploded in July in a small town in Quebec, killing 47 people and destroying 40 buildings.

Schumer spoke in front of a rail bridge near Armory Square in downtown Syracuse on Tuesday, where he says around 200 cars of oil and 100 cars of ethanol pass by everyday due to an increase in domestic energy production in the U.S.

Bethany Palmer/WRVO

The Port of Oswego could be in line for some business-boosting help from the federal government. Sen. Charles Schumer is hoping to use his clout to get some help to keep the port growing.

The Northeast rail corridor will see shorter travel times and be more reliable. Through a new 25-year lease, Amtrak has taken control of a busy stretch of track leading to the capital region.