Trains loaded with explosive crude oil roll through Michigan & Metro Detroit - cloaked in secrecy?

(WXYZ) - Explosive crude oil is being carried on freight trains rolling through Michigan and Metro Detroit. 

A 7 Action News Investigation finds people who live and work near the tracks and even many first responders are not being informed. The trains are loaded with the Bakken Crude Oil in North Dakota and travel through several states and Canada.

On July 6, 2013, a runaway train carrying the Bakken crude derailed and exploded in Lac Megantic, Quebec killing 47.

There have been other explosions in Virginia, Alabama and North Dakota. Officials say the issues are safety, secrecy and sharing of information.

Michigan State Police Captain Chris Kelenske says the information is sensitive and could lead to a terrorist attack.  Captain Kelenske would only tell 7 Action News Investigator Jim Kiertzner that the trains go through 14 counties in Michigan. But just two days ago, Officials in Iowa released its information so that people would know that the trains go through 9 counties.

On May 7, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued an emergency order requiring rail companies to provide information on Bakken crude oil trains when they are carrying more than one million gallons of crude, that's 35 tank cars, the routes they travel, actual amounts transported, frequency of trips and rail company contacts. 

The feds urge sharing this to first responders on a "need to know" basis.

Some rail companies are taking it a step further asking emergency officials to sign confidentiality agreements to get the information. Michigan State Police officials did not sign, but are not releasing the information to the public.

Windsor, Ontario Fire Chief Bruce Montone tells 7 Action News, he has also not signed a confidentiality agreement. 

He adds Canadian rail companies included in their agreement that local governments can not contest rail companies seeking injunctive relief of sharing that information. 

The Chief says Windsor and the companies are still in talks so he has gotten no information on the Bakken Crude Oil trains. The Chief believes they enter Windsor through the tunnel from Detroit.

The trains may also share tracks on the route from Chicago to Detroit. Chief Montone says any explosion would be catastrophic.

Detroit City officials also tell 7 Action News, they've been given little information and are frustrated they can not prepare.

One more safety issue, some rail tank cars transporting the Bakken crude are known as DOT-111s. They are also called in the industry the "Ford Pinto" of rail cars because they can easily explode. 

They were designed in the 1960s, have a thin tank skin and other older design issues. It would cost the industry billions to retrofit or replace these tank cars.

Canadian officials have ordered them phased out of use by 2017.

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