Regional board criticizes Dakota Southern Railroad

December 15, 2017

CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. (AP) — A regional railroad authority board in South Dakota has issued a warning to the Dakota Southern Railroad to resolve several issues, including a dispute with a landowner and a violation regarding hazardous materials.

The Mitchell to Rapid City Regional Railroad Authority Board gave stern recommendations to Dakota Southern officials during a meeting Thursday, the Daily Republic reported .

“We’re sliding downhill with Dakota Southern,” said Ken Cotton, the board’s attorney. “If you guys want to operate here, you need to resolve your issues.”

Brule County officials brought Dakota Southern’s violation regarding rail cars containing liquefied petroleum gas to the board’s attention during the meeting. An investigation found that the trainmaster instructed a crew to place the train cars in an unauthorized location, which violated federal regulations.

“When you bring 88 cars of butane into my county and let me know the day after you drop them, it’s going to get blown out of proportion,” said Kathryn Benton, Brule County’s emergency manager.

“It was just a lapse,” said Heath Haden, Dakota Southern’s vice president of operations. “We had some issues with that crew and the crew is no longer with us.”

The ongoing dispute regarding a 2014 fire that destroyed 120 trees on a couple’s property was also discussed. The couple’s attorney, Steve Fox, said Dakota Southern has yet to reach an agreement on reimbursement.

The board plans to recommend a timeline to reach an agreement and to present the issue to the state rail board at its Dec. 20 meeting.

“It looks like you’ve been shuffling this matter under the rug and you could give a rat’s rip about what happens,” Cotton said. “It’s time to get some really big stuff done.”


Information from: The Daily Republic, http://www.mitchellrepublic.com

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