Lawmakers tour wreckage from Raymond train derailment

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The railway where 22 train cars derailed Thursday morning in the western Minnesota community of Raymond is expected to reopen in the next couple of days.

On Friday, lawmakers toured the wreckage and got an update on the cleanup.

RELATED: Evacuation order lifted, residents allowed to return home after train derailment in Raymond

“It was pretty shocking to see these burnt-out train cars,” U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said. “You just think about that intense fire that melted away these cars, and you see how close the houses were.”

“We were very lucky on this one that this train didn’t derail right in town where there’s all those huge grain bins and all these other items that could’ve been catastrophically affected,” said state Sen. Andrew Lang (R-Olivia).

Many are grateful for the coordinated, thorough response.

“When this train derailed, everybody in this community ran to trouble,” U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said.

The NTSB is on the scene, and while there’s no new information on what caused the derailment, they provided a positive update to those on the ground on when service in the area will resume.

“We’re going to see this rail back online in the next 48 hours,” said Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.).

Following this derailment, pressure is mounting in the push to improve rail safety across the country.

“There are over a thousand train derailments in this country every year, that is too many,” Smith said.

BNSF is pushing back, saying 99.99% of their commodities are delivered without incident.

Senators Smith and Klobuchar are co-sponsoring a bill in the U.S. Senate that would increase safety standards and inspections, make sure two people are on a train at a time, and increase civil penalties when a derailment happens.

“Let’s just see what we can do going forward to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Klobuchar said.