WASHINGTON - The Department of Homeland Security on Friday unveiled a plan to tighten security on the nation’s rail system. But the proposal was
criticized even before it was released by Democratic lawmakers, who said it was too little, too late.
The Homeland Security proposal would require freight and passenger rail systems to inspect rail cars and keep them in secure areas when not in use.
They also would tighten surveillance of rail cars carrying toxic substances in “high threat urban areas.”
It has been revealed today that the Department of Homeland Security has plans to tighten security on the railroads here in the United States. This
plan should have been created and put into place years ago. The plan calls for monitoring of all rail cars, both freight and passenger, when the cars
are not being used in revenue service. Supposedly, this will help cut down the risk of a terrorist attack on the railroads. I say :swear
words, bull----) to that reason and the other reasons given. For some reason, I do not see this plan having any juice to it.
That is, for one, there are thousands
of miles of rail line, both freight and passenger, that are to be monitored. With the way that this
government is being ran nowadays, it would be nearly impossible to montior thousands upon thousands of miles of trackage to monitor at one time. The
number of people and machines for this to be successful would be enormous. That is just the beginning of it though.
Not only do you have thousands of miles of track to look over, but you also have thousands upon thousands of rolling stock, locomotives, and employees
that you would have to supervise with even more emphasis on what [b/can and can't
be done. For example, your Road Master, the guy in
charge of the line that you are on, gives you a particular place to take a car. Then he or she will tell you what to do with that car and how it
should be done. They will also tell you what you can and cannot say about the car and its load.
This also means that monitoring of the railroads will be more strict as this plan further develops. As for what this means for railfans, like me, I
guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Forced Rerouting of Hazardous Materials?
Just a little over two years ago, the City of Washington D. C. actually banned trains carry hazardous cargo from coming within 2.2 miles of the city
limits. This in turn caused, more hazardous materials to be shipped on lines that wouldn't normally see an influx of haz-mat traffic. This measure is
what got the City of Washington sued by CSX Transportation based out of Chesapeake, Virginia. The reason why CSX sued the city government there was
because Washington, D. C. is a main thoroughfare for haz-mat traffic coming to and from the Northeast.
CSX, along with other major carriers, feared that other cities impose such action like what Washington, D. C. has enacted. The suit against the City
of Washington is still pending in the court system. If other cities enact such legislation as this, it could have an adverse affect on the way the
railroads handle and or if they would ship hazardous materials again. I say let them send the stuff through. I know accidents and sabotage happens,
but that is something that most people, and me also, have come to expect when it comes to living close to an operating railroad.
I live close to a CSX operated mainline, we usually see about four to five trains a day(give or take) that carry hazardous materials. Most people say
to me, "You must not too worried if one would actually crash in your town." To tell you the God's honest truth, it scares the living hell out of me
to think about it. We've had derailments here before, amazingly the last one occurred here in 1971. That crash itself really said, "Even though one
has hapened here before, it can and most certainly will happen again." When it does unfortunately, I might have a front row seat to the carnage.