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FBI Investigating Metra track 'sabotage'

(The Associated Press circulated the following on September 27.)

CHICAGO ó The FBI is investigating whether a section of commuter train tracks was sabotaged after Metra workers discovered a dozen railroad spikes missing in an area on Chicago's South Side.

The spikes hold down metal plates that bind the rails to wooden ties underneath.

"If a sufficient number of spikes are removed in a contained location, there's the potential for the rail to shift, which would lead to disastrous results and train derailment," said Federal Railroad Administration spokesman Steve Kulm.

Metra discovered the missing spikes on Monday and notified police and federal authorities, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, which investigates threats to planes and trains.

The FBI said it was conducting a criminal investigation into "sabotage." FBI spokesman Ross Rice said agents were checking for possible connections to a domestic violence case involving a Metra engineer.

The affected tracks carry three commuter lines, including the Metra Electric Line to University Park and Blue Island, with around 40,000 riders daily, and the South Shore Line to Michigan City and South Bend, Ind.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

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