Sunday, July 21, 2013

Reuters busy polishing halo of Lac-Megantic train owner

The article is one of the longest yet published about Ed Burkhardt since the Lac-Megantic disaster. It begins with a description of the Weyauwega disaster in Wisconsin, and then cheekily segues into a quote from Burkhardt;

I have never been involved with anything remotely approaching this in my whole life.

This is beyond disingenuous. What he means is he's never had an accident with this death toll. The more you read about Weyauwega the more you realize that the only reason it didn't have a death toll even greater than Lac-Megantic is shear dumb luck.

The article tells us several times that one of the big differences between then and now is that the Wisconsin train had a two-man crew. Here is Paul S. Bodine writing at;

On March 4, 1996, a one-crew Wisconsin Central locomotive entering the center of Weyauwega, Wisconsin (midway between Appleton and Stevens Point, Wisconsin) derailed, sending 34 cars off the tracks, 14 of which were loaded with propane or liquefied petroleum. 

Read more:

In the event, Wisconsin officials were sufficiently concerned with Burkhardt's infatuation with understaffed trains that they made the issue an integral part of an agreement between the Federal Railroad Administration and Burkhardt's company.

Most of the article is a kid-glove treatment of Burkardt and the straight-faced reportage of his self-serving quotes and those of former business associates.

We are repeatedly assured that Ed Burkhardt cares about safety, he really does... even though his entire career has been about relentless cost-cutting and he has been dogged by safety issues for two decades.

Sounds like Fast Eddie has hired himself a PR firm!

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