High alert on rail security

Safety, security earn failing grade in Teamster survey of nation's railroads

Rail workers report that America's rail system is no better protected than before terrorist bombings in Madrid and London, despite repeated warnings from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that trains are a likely terrorist target.

The Teamsters Rail Conference released a report on September 29 documenting vulnerabilities on America's railways. Employees of Union Pacific, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Burlington Northern and others participated in the report. Rail workers from coast to coast tell of a startling lack of safety and security measures in place along the nation's rail network.

"Our members told us that dangerous and possibly deadly situations are a daily occurrence on the rails," said John Murphy, Director of the Teamsters Rail Conference.

"The rail corporations and the Federal Railroad Administration must be held accountable for the appalling state of security on the rails and the lack of safety training our members receive."

The report, titled "High Alert: Workers Warn of Security Gaps on Nation's Railroads," is based on more than 4,000 surveys completed by Class I, regional, short line and commuter railroad employees, warns that U.S. rail carriers have failed to demonstrate improved or increased safety and security on the rail system.

"In this age of increased demand for safety within our borders, it is unconscionable that these employees witness these frightening lapses in security on our rails each day," said Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). "The facts in this report show the outcome of the Administration's lack of spending for rail and transit security compared to the billions of dollars committed to airline security."

Workers, who reported the safety and security measures in place on any one workday during a year-long survey period, reported:

"This is a direct result of rail corporations downsizing their workforces and relying more and more on mechanized means of surveilling their infrastructure," Murphy said. "No electronic device can ever replace the eyes and ears of trained rail employees. We are asking Congress to take a long, hard look at our finds and bring the rail corporations to task for having allowed lax systems to continue."

To read the High Alert: Workers Warn of Security Gaps on Nation's Railroads report, go to:

http://www.teamster.org/divisions/rail/pdfs/railsecuritybook.pdf

 

© 2005 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen