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Ethanol Trains Through Somerville Under Scrutiny, Meeting Wednesday Night

Dubbed "bomb trains" by some activists, the ethanol freight trains could roll through the heart of Somerville twice a week, each time with 1.8 million gallons of the volatile liquid on board.

Trains that would each carry about 1.8 million gallons of ethanol and might travel through the heart of Somerville at least twice a week are the subject of a study by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

MassDOT is holding a meeting about the trains, dubbed "bomb trains" by some activists, Wednesday night in East Boston.

The trains would deliver about 187 million gallons of ethanol, a volatile and inflammable alcohol used as an additive to gasoline, each year to the Global Oil terminal in Revere.

In doing so, the trains would travel through about 25 Massachusetts cities and towns, including Somerville, Cambridge, Boston, Chelsea and Everett.

Somerville has joined Chelsea, Revere and other communities in opposing the ethanol trains, which could come down the Fitchburg and Lowell Commuter Rail lines.

The Fitchburg Line runs past Porter Square and Union Square in the southern part of Somerville, and the Lowell Line runs through the heart of the city, past Magoun and Ball squares and places like the new Maxwell's Green residential development.

Opponents of the trains point to several spills and explosions that have occurred in connection to the trains in other parts of the country.

At Wednesday's meeting, MassDOT will present its study, an evaluation of the trains and their impacts on public safety. There will also be a question and answer period.

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at East Boston High School, 86 White St., East Boston.

More on Somerville Patch

Ethanol 'Bomb Trains' That Might Travel Through Somerville Receive Nearby Opposition

Aldermen: Keep Your Ethanol-Filled Freight Trains Out of Somerville

Jim Wright February 06, 2013 at 02:24 PM
Do not allow ethanol transport through Somerville. This is extremely dangerous and not well monitored once allowed. The population density makes the loss of life risk to great.
Matt C February 06, 2013 at 03:12 PM
is it safer or more environmentally friendly to do this by tractor-trailer truck?
sharon February 06, 2013 at 06:23 PM
The government has requirements in place forcing some to use ethanol. Therefore, it needs to get to the oil terminal. Should it be dropped from the sky by helicopter? Here's the thing, you can't require a products' use if you don't want said product to be transported. It does make me laugh, however, at what this will do to all those high-end developments the mayor has and hopes to build along the T. Guess we don't need to hold onto the deteriorating Homan's building any longer......
robert g February 07, 2013 at 12:39 AM
By federal law trains have the right of way. If the town doesn't like it they should move. The town has no choice. Of course it can always go by truck through the town.

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