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Dayton names rail director

ST. PAUL -- A woman with transportation and agriculture background will lead Minnesota's rail safety effort.

Gov. Mark Dayton Tuesday announced that Alene Tchourumoff is the new state rail director. Her job will be to "enhance railway safety, pursue needed infrastructure improvements, continue training and support for first responders, closely monitor rail movements and work with communities and railroad companies to ensure the safe and efficient operation of rail systems across Minnesota," a governor's news release reported.

“Alene Tchourumoff is exceptionally well-qualified for this important position,” Dayton said. “With more than 4,400 miles of rail routes used by more than 20 different railroads, Minnesota needs a full-time, highly qualified leader devoting close attention to their safe and efficient operations."

Tchourumoff will go to the state after leading Hennepin County's freight rail planning. She has served in several other jobs, including in the federal government; advising the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico; and rail positions in Dallas and California.

She also was a World Bank agricultural development advisor and worked in China and southeast Asia.

Dayton has emphasized rail safety since reports surfaced of several North American accidents involving trains carrying oil from western North Dakota.

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