7061 East Pleasant Valley Road, Independence, Ohio 44131 • (216) 241-2630 / Fax: (216) 241-6516

Membership
Benefits
News and Issues
Departments
Information
Secretary-Treasurer
Merchandise
Communications
FELA
Events
Links
User Info

Railroad security is a ‘joke’

(The following story by Dennis Welch appeared on the East Valley Tribune website on December 8.)

MESA, Ariz. -- Arizonans are at risk of dying from terrorist attacks along the state’s 3,000 miles of railroad tracks because of nonexistent security, Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes said Wednesday.

Mayes called security a "joke" after hearing that no federal money is being spent to guard the state’s railroads against a potential terrorist strike.

During a special meeting called to address safety, members of the commission’s railroad safety staff also noted that only one person is in charge of terrorist security for the railroads’ entire Phoenix metropolitan network.

"I find this absolutely appalling," Mayes said during the nearly three-hour meeting.

Mayes said the railroads were "woefully" unprepared to deal with terrorism. She plans to pressure the companies and the federal government to tighten security.

The state has become a major crossroads for trains hauling hazardous and flammable materials such as propane, chlorine and ethanol, said Tom Whitmer, a railroad inspector.

But despite that, Whitmer told the commissioners, he has seen little if no increase in security during the four years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Commissioner Bill Mundell then called for staff to begin reviewing the state’s authority over the railroads, which is restricted by the U.S. Constitution.

Mundell has been outspoken about rail safety in the past and plans to use his position to press for safety improvements.

Among his concerns are railroad crossings and train speeds in fast growing areas like the East Valley where locomotives can reach 60 mph.

"You hope the railroads would do the right thing, but sometimes it takes the heavy hand of government," Mundell said.

In other issues, the panel would also like to cut down on the number of trespassing deaths on the track, a rising number they attribute to illegal immigration.

According to federal numbers, the state now ranks seventh in the nation in trespassing deaths — which is when an unauthorized person is killed on the tracks.

So far this year, the state has recorded 22 trespassing deaths. Last year’s total: 21.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Like us on Facebook at
Facebook.com/BLETNational

Sign up for BLET News Flash Alerts

© 1997-2020 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

 


Decertification Helpline
(216) 694-0240

National Negotiations

Sign up for BLET
News Flash Alerts

DAILY HEADLINES

Pan Am Railways goes up for sale
An observer’s view of the Pan Am Railways sale
NJ Transit claims “major milestone” in PTC progress
Amtrak to reduce New York-Florida trains starting July 6, with more cuts coming October 1
SEPTA Regional Rail is coming back, but many of its suburban riders are still working from home
Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles set records for container movement
Nebraska Commission files complaint against railroads for blocked crossings
CN plans nearly C$1 billion in capital projects
Norfolk Southern sold its Roanoke headquarters building for $30 million, less than assessed value
Passenger rail between Duluth, Twin Cities hurt by lack of state backing
Port of Savannah calls 10% container volume drop “better than expected”
RRB begins paying CARES Act recovery payments for unemployed rail workers
Q&A: RRB reports performance under customer service plan
Get the latest labor news from the Teamsters

More Headlines