Though less controversial than traditional pipelines, carrying oil by train is both more common and more dangerous. Horror stories of derailed trains carrying toxic loads of crude oil, spilling fire and poison onto towns and natural areas, have dotted the news headlines as oil production in the Continental U.S. and Canada has gone up in the last few years.
Hear in Vancouver, oil headed for the port has to traverse miles of rail way, much lining the Columbia River Gorge. This is not only a natural wonder, but a spill in the Columbia would be a health risk for millions all along the River from Hermiston, OR to Astoria, OR. This time of year, the gorge is also hit with high winds, ice, and occasional white out conditions, making the chance of a derailment all the more possible.
Below is a story I found on a spill in North Dakota of more than 400,000 gallons of crude oil. It refers to spills in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, which resulted in 47 deaths, and another in Alabama which resulted in a fire that burned several days.
Punctured Cars in ND Train Crash Spill 400K Gallons of Crude Oil - InsuranceJournal.com 01/15/14