Railroad security a hot topic for speakers at First Quadrennial

C. Thomas Keegel, General Secretary-Treasurer of the IBT.

Delegates attending the BLET's First Quadrennial Convention heard from various speakers who called for improvements to the security of our nation's railroads.

C. Thomas Keegel, General Secretary-Treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, discussed rail security issues and was critical of railroad corporations for seeking to secure their bottom lines instead of securing the rails.

Delegates also heard from Craig Gilchrist, Chairman of the BLET's Montana State Legislative Board. He said that vital railroad operating information currently available to the public via the Internet poses a risk to national railroad security, and steps must be taken to protect rail workers and the general public.

For example, Gilchrist said photos and video available on the Internet show how to release a locomotive's brakes. In addition, locomotive operating manuals and rule books are available to the public as well.

"It's like one-stop shopping for terrorists," he said.

One solution is the installation of brake valve keys like those used on railways in Germany. They are keys that lock the train's brake valve and remain in the locomotive engineers' possession at all times.

Current railroad equipment could be retrofitted with brake valve keys and regulations should be implemented to require all new locomotives to be equipped with the security device, Gilchrist said.

Delegates also heard from Brenda Cantrell, Director of the Railway Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program at the National Labor College/George Meany Center. She spoke at length regarding the various hazardous materials training courses that are available to rail workers. She said that curriculum at the NLC was recently updated to include information regarding terrorist threats as well as handling of spent nuclear waste.

Craig Gilchrist, Chairman of the Montana State Legislative Board.

Brenda Cantrell, Director of the Railway Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program at the National Labor College/ George Meany Center.

 

 

© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen