Welcome to the Texas Panhandle, National Transportation Safety Board.
The NTSB has dispatched some high-powered investigators to examine the cause of the fiery crash that has killed at least two crew members aboard freight trains that collided just east of Panhandle.
You’ve seen the video. The smoke, the fire, the mayhem and misery. It’s all quite disturbing.
NTSB investigator Richard Hipskind said the agency’s aim is to determine the cause and to recommend ways to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Indeed, this region relies heavily on rail traffic.
Drive along most of the major highways coursing across the Texas Panhandle.
My wife and I drove recently from Amarillo to Clovis, N.M., along U.S. 60 through Canyon, Hereford, Friona, Bovina and Farwell. We must have seen a dozen trains traveling in both directions — at high speed, I should add — on tracks running parallel to the highway.
We see much the same thing whenever we drive along U.S. 287 toward the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
The thought has entered my mind more than once whenever we see many trains on these drives through the Panhandle: I sure hope the folks who run these rail tracks know how to keep these trains from running into each other.
The NTSB has some video to examine to determine how these trains ended up on the same track before colliding on the high-speed track.
The community should mourn the loss of life.
It also should insist that NTSB and railroad investigators leave nothing on the table as they look for the cause of this horrifying crash — and seek ways to protect our communities from future explosive collisions.