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FBI investigates track tampering in Iowa

(The following appeared on the ABC News website on June 14, 2011.)

NEW YORK — A fiery train disaster was narrowly averted early Sunday near a small town in Iowa. Someone was very determined to derail a train carrying highly flammable ethanol, according to the CEO of Iowa Interstate Railroad.

"Someone could have been killed," Dennis Miller, the CEO of Iowa Interstate Railroad, told ABC News. "Ethanol won't explode," he said, "but it will burn." The trains running along those tracks, he said, often carry flammable ethanol, which they load at a nearby ethanol plant. Each train can carry up to 30,000 gallons of ethanol, "and 30,000 gallons would burn for a long time."

Miller said a lock was cut off a track switch box just outside Menlo, a town that sits along the rail line between Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha, Neb. The track was also "gapped open" about 2 inches, and a black bag was used to cover the switch signal so the tampering would be harder to notice. Miller said the switch tampering, and the creation of the gap in the tracks, clearly indicated to him that someone was trying to derail one of the 130-car trains that were running the track last Sunday.

The FBI is now investigating the Iowa incident, but Bureau sources said early indications are that the incident is not a terrorism related.

Full story: www.abcnews.com

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

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