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Rail Car Maintenance Company Pleads Guilty to Negligent Release of Hazardous Anhydrous Ammonia

Trinity Rail Group, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Trinity Industries, Inc., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Albany, NY, to charges related to negligently releasing hazardous anhydrous ammonia from a rail car into the air in August 2000. The fumes sickened many people and stopped freight and passenger rail traffic on a major New York route for 3 days. The company, which maintains and repairs railroad cars, is charged with improperly installing a flange plate on top of a railroad tank car in July 2000, causing a gasket to fail about a month later and the hazardous vapors to leak into a rail yard and nearby residential areas in Fort Edward, NY. A sentencing date has not been scheduled. The case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigations Division, DOT OIG, and FRA.