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Railroad workers speak out on rail security

(The following report appeared at PBS.org on June 30.)

In a survey by the Teamsters Rail Conference, rail workers from coast to coast reported a lack of safety and poor security measures in place along the nation's rail network.

In the 2005 survey of over 4,000 rail employees across the nation focused on security measures in place on U.S. rails.

The Association of American Railroads has criticized the report claiming the Teamsters' report ignores facts and is a bargaining tactic.

Some anonymous quotes from rail workers from the report include:

"Anyone can enter. The yard has a lot of crime take place in it. I assume a terrorist wouldn't have any problems here," a New Jersey Amtrak worker.

"I personally observed five loaded chlorine tanks left unattended," a Florida CSX worker.

"I have not seen a railroad cop in a month," Pennsylvania Conrail worker.

Report Details:

-- 54 percent of those surveyed said they noticed running trains or equipment left unattended.
-- 24 percent said they saw trespassers in the rail yard or along the right of way.
-- 62 percent said they had not been trained regarding their role in their company's emergency action plans.

Key Recommendations from the Report:

-- Securing the rail infrastructure at points of vulnerability.
-- Increasing minimum requirements for inspections of critical infrastructure, including tracks, bridges and tunnels.
-- Improving storage of hazardous materials in transportation.

Friday, June 30, 2006

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