Passenger Rail News Briefs

Authorities suspect sabotage in collapse of transmission tower

Authorities suspect sabotage was behind the collapse of two enormous electrical transmission towers in Wisconsin that halted Amtrak train service between Chicago and Milwaukee for much of the October 9th weekend.

That service was back to normal by October 11, but investigators went back to search for clues.

An FBI anti-terrorism task force is working with the Oak Creek (Wisc.) Police Department in getting to the bottom of the tumbling of the two towers.

Nobody was hurt, but freight and passenger train service was halted until crews cleared the power lines from the tracks and authorities collected physical evidence.

A freight train stopped 75 yards short of the wires. Milwaukee's Mitchell Airport, which is about a mile from the towers, lost power for a while over the weekend.

(From the Chicago Sun-Times.)

N.E. corridor bridges may be on last legs

Passengers riding the rails in the Northeast hardly notice the three busy drawbridges they cross in southeastern Connecticut. But Amtrak engineers say the bridges are in such dire condition that they threaten to eliminate service between New York and Boston and curtail access to three rivers.

The tiny 291-foot drawbridge that has operated over the Niantic River for 97 years is the busiest of the three. Its steel supports have holes so large, a person can stick a finger in them. To the east, bolts supporting a four-million-pound counterweight keep failing on the 85-year-old bridge that runs over the Thames River. To the west, structural support pins are wearing out on the railroad bridge over the Connecticut River. That bridge is 97 years old.

Of the roughly 1,300 bridges that Amtrak owns, the three in southeastern Connecticut are among the most antiquated and least reliable in the system, Amtrak officials said.

(From the New York Times.)



© 2004 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen