U.S. Department of Transportation / Northwest News Network

Washington’s rail safety regulator says there are about 3,000 rail crossings in the state that inspectors have never looked at. That's because they're on private land. And experts say these could be problem areas as more trains carry crude oil through the state. They plan to ask the legislature for more authority.

A state study on oil transport through Washington finds that the amount of crude oil shipped from North Dakota could triple in the next five years. In two decades, more than 16 trains carrying oil could cross the state every day.

Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Commons

If you've ridden a train to or from Seattle you have probably passed through the heart of the city via the Great Northern Tunnel.

This month, the tunnel turns 110 years old.

Back in the fall of 1904, when it was finished, the mile-long tunnel was the tallest and widest in the United States.

Local historian Michael Sullivan tells the story:

Mark Herren / Flickr

Coal has been transported around the country by rail for decades. But very little research has been done on what coal does to the environment when it escapes from trains.With two large coal export terminals proposed for Washington state, one federal agency is hoping to add good science to the debate over coal in the Northwest.

"Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff. Ding-dong, ding-dong."

The beloved tale of the little blue engine — who helps bring a broken-down train of toys to the good little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain — has been chugging along for a very long time. But despite the locomotive's optimistic refrain — I think I can, I think I can, I think I can — the story has a somewhat checkered past: In its tracks, The Little Engine has left both a legal battle and a debate over whether the little blue engine is male or female.

Raymond D. Woods Jr. / Flickr

BNSF Railway said it will comply with a Saturday federal deadline to provide states with information about the frequency and routes of oil trains from North Dakota and Montana.

The railroad made that announcement Friday even though Washington, Oregon and Idaho have balked at signing confidentiality agreements about the crude oil shipments.

ahhyeah / Flickr

There are millions of gallons of oil moving by train through the Northwest.

Most of them are traveling from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota, to several refineries along Puget Sound.

Partial Derailment Of Empire Builder Sends One To Hospital

Apr 28, 2014
Nate Beal / Wikimedia Commons

An Amtrak train carrying passengers from Chicago to Portland and Seattle “partially derailed” in eastern Montana this afternoon. One passenger has been taken to the hospital. His injuries are not considered serious.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Oregon and Washington might turn to a private company to operate their Cascades rail service. The two states are testing the waters to see if anyone other than Amtrak is interested in operating the route that includes Seattle, Portland and Eugene.

The worst train in America is right here in the Northwest: the famed Empire Builder.

Port of Vancouver Approves Biggest Oil-Train Project In NW

Jul 23, 2013
Port of Vancouver USA

The Port of Vancouver Commission voted unanimously to approve a lease for a controversial oil terminal. Two companies have proposed building a terminal at the port that could one day move up to 380,000 barrels of crude oil a day from trains to ships on the Columbia River.