After a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, Fault Lines investigates how the railroad industry has prioritized profits over safety.
On the evening of February 3, a freight train derailed in the U.S. state of Ohio, spilling toxic chemicals into the small town of East Palestine. In the days that followed, overheated tank cars full of toxic chemicals became unstable.
Officials set off an explosion in part of the train to avoid a larger, uncontrolled one, sending a large, dark plume of smoke and chemicals into the air for days. Since then, some residents have had to flee their homes, while others worry about long term health issues due to chemical exposure.
The derailment has raised questions about safety culture in the U.S. railroad industry, with federal investigators stating that it was completely preventable. For our months-long investigation, Fault Lines spoke with workers at the main railroads, who described how their jobs have been impacted by a corporate strategy that has prioritized profits over safety.