It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


What Has The Government Done To...

page: 1

log in


posted on May, 11 2008 @ 11:37 AM
After reading all of these reports over the last few years of what the United States Government has done or hasn't done, let's just say I'm thinking right now. We all know that the most vulnerable targets that can inflict the mass amount of casualties in one incident are our freight railroads and our chemical plants. It has just shocked me, if not dumbfounded me, as to why the government has not done more to protect our infrastructure. Our infrastructure, non railroad, is in the toilet right now.

I saw a newspaper report a few years ago that stated that chemical plants were dropped from a bill that the House and Senate were both trying to get passed to help the chemical plants pay for extra security measures. This was brought up due the ever present "threat" that Arab terrorists posed for the chemical plants. Mysteriously, the mention of chemical plants and helping the chemical plants all together was dropped off the bill.

It would seem to me that somebody, if not some special interest group had stuffed the polticians pockets to keep the chemical facilities off of that bill. I myself live within driving distance of at least three major chemical plants. We always live day to day like there could be a problem at any one of the plants. To me, it would seem like you would do everything in you power to keep the chemical plants, the people that work in them, and the communities around them as safe as can be.

It also worries me that we could have another 9-11 style attack happen only involving the power plants. With some of the chemicals that are produced, some of which can kill a human in minutes. After all that happens, we could be looking at a National Disaster or a National Emergency where everything would possibly be shut down.

Now it is on to something that most of you know that I follow with a fine toothed comb. As most of you know, I am a railfan. I am basically the first line of defense when it comes down keeping the rails safe for everyone. The thing is that we know what to look for and who to call if a problem or suspicious activity pops up. We, as in the millions of us here ins the states, are basically the eyes, the ears, and the informants for the railroad when their own officers aren't available.

Another thing that the government has basically neglected is the freight and passenger railroads. For the past ten years it seems like, no one in the federal government has paid one single bit of attention to the nation's railroads. It does seem to me that the railroads have been neglected, security wise, when it comes down to anti-terrorism. I for one, hate to see a vital link for our economy to be neglected like it has been. I guarantee this, if certain links in the rail network here in the United States, it could cripple our economy. However, I see it like this though. You may agree or disagree with me on this. It should be up to the federal government to help the railroads in certain situations. For example, when it comes down to hiring more railroad police.

I do know one of the many possible reasons that the government no longer cares about the railroads is that the Federal Government no longer oversees the railroads. Ever since the de-regulation of the railroads in 1980-81 by the Reagan Adminstration, security on the railroads has plummeted to dangerous levels. If it wasn't for the deregulation and the view that the government now has on the railroads, they wouldn't be in such horrid shape when it comes down to securing the rail system here.

There is at least one thing that you have to think about when it comes down to the railroads. You got to remember, the railroads go through places where even cars and trucks cannot get to. This includes some of the most mountainous terrain on planet Earth. Places where you really only have to options to get there. One is by rail and the other is by your feet.

Speaking for railfans across the United States.

We are not terrorists, we are a group, a very large group that is, that I like to see what we love. That is the 4 million pounds of steel rolling through a neighborhood or through the countryside of this great land of ours. Almost 800,000 miles of track in this country and Canada, and it would be very hard to impossible to enforce such a law like that! Imagine the number of people both governments would have to hire just for that reason.

We railfans know what suspicious activities to look for in and around the tracks.

1. Suspicious packages or someting out of the ordinary next to the tracks.
2. People taking pictures of the tracks instead of an approaching train.
3. Unknown persons taking photographs of train stations and platforms
4. Persons taking pictures of railyards or depots using a special type of camera.
5. People placing any sort of object on the tracks or at a station platform

Those are just a few signs to look for.

Other signs could be of trespassers tampering or at least trying to tamper with railroad property. That, if caught, could land a person in a Federal prison for fifteen plus years. It can also lead to accidents that could have dire consequences for some.

To this day, nothing has been done for the freight railroads to keep them from being attacked by some terrorist.

I bring this up because I have a proposal for each and every railfan here in the United States and on ATS. This proposal is for a nationwide Railfan Identification Program. The cards would almost be the same as your driver's license only a little bit different. It would have the same information as to what your license would have, with one exception. This card would be good nationwide.

First step to get this started is to go to this websiteCitizens For Rail Security.
Second step is to get a hold of you Congressman/Congresswoman and tell them that we need a National Railfan Identification Program.

Thank you for your time, patience, and have a great day!

posted on Nov, 11 2008 @ 08:03 PM
reply to post by gimmefootball400

As the war on terror began, they certainly talked about other possible targets including, rail, chemical plants, water towers- to name a few. I've also seen multiple stories (since 911) run by the media on how they continue to sneak things through restricted areas in airports to expose the flaws in our system.

Ultimately you have to wonder how big of a threat terrorism really is? If it's that easy for a Mexican to sneak across the border, then why hasn't a terrorist done it? Some store to gather supplies to make a bomb. Get a motel room. Make the bomb, go blow something up... just doesn't seem to happen.

A friend of mine recently road the train from Seattle to Portland and said the thing was pretty dead. He drank a beer he had hidden in his backpack before moving to the food service car and talking with some people there (he said one lady was wasted lol). He claims it would be easy to leave a suitcase bomb in one of those things and it wouldn't get found for awhile. Now it is no mystery that Amtrak has no money. However, following 911 I thought they'd get a larger budget to provide more security. Nope. I did notice the Coast Guard out in force a couple times when taking the ferry here. Who knows? I wonder if anyone here on ATS has noticed increased security when taking the train? I know the east coast uses a lot more rail than we do here on the west side.

posted on Nov, 11 2008 @ 08:18 PM
Actually very little has changed since 9/11 in regards to security. All they did was put a bandaid on a gaping wound. Its a miracle that we havent been hit since then.

What little they did do was almost entirely focused on the airports and even then its very debatable whether the TSA is effective or not.

For example, we have to get rid of the privately contracted security guards at nuclear plants and replace them with a Department of Energy police force who's officers would be required to adhere to the normal standards for a uniformed federal officer

posted on Nov, 11 2008 @ 08:51 PM
reply to post by Scramjet76

What gets me about it is that you have some very public access points to rail faciliites in the United States. In certain places, you can walk right into the facilities and nobody would or will say anything to you. Now a days, you are stopped and asked what you are doing there. Most times you are escorted off the property by railroad police.

As for securing every single mile of mainline railroad track in this country. Our government would have to under take a massive funding project that would assist the railroads to secure their lines. Not only that, where the railroads are no longer regulated by the government, it would be a major undertaking for the government to enforce the security measures.

Ever since the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, the federal government has basically had no say as to what the railroads do and as to how they should be doing it.

[edit on 11-11-2008 by gimmefootball400]

posted on Nov, 11 2008 @ 09:30 PM
reply to post by gimmefootball400

Well perhaps the government increased funding for port security? Goods which come in by ship and are then loaded on trains must be overseen. These areas are perhaps where they have their forces. Once the train starts moving its not going to stop for awhile. And like you said, securing every mile of rail across the country is impossible.

[edit on 11-11-2008 by Scramjet76]

posted on Nov, 11 2008 @ 09:47 PM
How populated is the usual train? I thought they didn't carry all that many people. It doesn't seem like a viable target to me, but I have not ridden a train in years. Now on the other hand I certainly think nuclear/chemical plants DO need security. How much do they typically have now? I had hoped nuclear plants were somewhat secure.

posted on Nov, 11 2008 @ 11:06 PM
reply to post by Scramjet76

I most certainly hope that the Federal Government did increase funding for port security. What worries me is what if somehow something wh=ere to slip by security and the government not even know that what ever it is in said container is making it's way across country. The scary part is that before the containers get put on a truck, how are they shipped across country. They are shipped across country by rail either on singlestack
piggyback trains or double stack movements where allowable.

reply to post by Raustin

The typical passenger train usually averages anywhere between two hundred and fifty to five hundred persons depending on which route it is. On the popular routes here, like the California Zephyr or Empire Builder, you can see well about seven hundred people per train. However, we are not only talking about passenger trains, we are also talking about trains that we see everyday as being a target for attack. What our government has to realize is how populated are areas that freight trains roll through. You would be shocked to see how many major U.S. Metropolitan areas have about a dozen or so rail lines coming into the areas. Plus, just look at the tank cars on a freight train one day. Then you tell me that they are not rolling bombs or chemical weapons.

As for security of nuclear facilities, those facilities are a whole lot more secure than what most people think. For one, you try driving up to a nuclear facility and see if you do not get stopped and asked for plant employee verification. As for how secure nuclear facilities are now, security measures for nuclear facilities has not changed in twenty years.

posted on Nov, 11 2008 @ 11:24 PM

Now it is on to something that most of you know that I follow with a fine toothed comb. As most of you know, I am a railfan. I am basically the first line of defense when it comes down keeping the rails safe for everyone. The thing is that we know what to look for and who to call if a problem or suspicious activity pops up. We, as in the millions of us here ins the states, are basically the eyes, the ears, and the informants for the railroad when their own officers aren't available.

I don't have any problem with you all watching. (in fact we have had rail fan call in broken rails) My problem is when you are all out at wrong times. IE middle of night/ early morning. Or just even to darn close to the tracks. We get calls from our train crews of someone just "hangin around". Now I have to get the police out and tell our trains to slow down. It is very disruptive.

Again, we could go back and forth all night about the good and evils....
so, I will be back tomorrow...

csx dispatcher

posted on Nov, 11 2008 @ 11:31 PM
I often wonder about that too as i live in a city where its not uncommon for a train carrying 5-10 full cylinders of hydrochloric acid or chlorine, an this track is right in the heart of a downtown area.

Not to mention the tracks all around the city that are totally unprotected, you see the efp's and ied's going off in iraq and afganistan, now imagine that on a huge scale in our country against trains. that's some scarrrrrry stuff sloshin around in some of those tanks.

also kinda makes me wonder, what if all this time the world has been ripping up the bush administration and they have been quietly preventing 1000's of attacks like these and perhaps they are actually doing a far better job then they are willing to admit. Not that i think that but it makes you wonder..

[edit on 11-11-2008 by Retikx]

posted on Nov, 11 2008 @ 11:38 PM
The way I see it is that people do not realzie how deep they can get in trouble if they are spotted tresspassing on the property. That's why when I'm out fanning, it's always in the daylight and where the crews can see me. After all I do live by the former C&O Mainline that has been in CSX control since April of 1986. Someone told me the other day that a crew traveling up the Ohio River Subdivision reported a car parked to close to the tracks. So the dispatcher had to call up the local police department and innform them of what the crew spotted.

If you don't mind me asking.
Which Call Center do you work out of?

posted on Nov, 22 2008 @ 10:19 PM
I believe it was chlorine that killed a bunch of people down in South Carolina when a freight train derailed down there. The cause of that crash was due to another crew whose shift had expired when they were working that left the switch open. Needless to say, when the freight carrying the tank cars came through the area, the train was switched off the main to the industrial siding that the other crew had left there train on. Scary part about that accident was that the train crew of the other train involved basically neglected to check what they had done before they left their train.

posted on Mar, 29 2009 @ 12:11 PM
reply to post by gimmefootball400

Hey buddy. I finally got the time to sit still and take a look at your awesome thread. Before I go into anything, I re-posted the link in your original post since it didn't work. I think a typo may have been the culprit.

Citizens For Railroad Security

As for what you're saying here in the thread, I have to say I love the idea. The very hard part would be to convince Congress, because you have to have massive amounts of research, infrastructure, and money to get something like this initiated, referring here of course to your identification card. When I say this I am not in the least bit trying to be discouraging to you or anyone who wants to join in, but stating instead that it will take a lot of dedication, communication, and possibly fundraising. I can collaborate with you on some of it if you would like to. My first suggestion would be for you to form a non-profit organization so that everything is legally covered under tax laws in order to make it so that the impact is more significant as well as a tax write-off.

Communicating with other people like on American Rails Forum of course would be another large step in the process. Keeping in mind that railroads are large, heavy, and massive machines in themselves, this particular area is of course vulnerable because it is so open, anyone can walk on a train track and find a turn to sabotage. I have always thought that the railroads were one of the most vulnerable infrastructures because no one actually patrols them on a regular basis when trains are not traveling them.

You and I can talk about the non-profit via Yahoo, if you're serious about this, the problem will come in finding other committed people, and financing it. Personally I love trains, but in some regards I think they should be a lot more secure, to the point of my paranoia about them, being in tunnels underground so that they are surrounded by more direct means of monitoring via cameras in the tunnels.

That's me not wanting to share trains with other people either though.

You and I can talk about a lot of details and I will walk you through as much as possible, and help directly when needed, and sort through the information with you.

Great thread.

posted on Mar, 29 2009 @ 12:30 PM

Originally posted by Raustin
How populated is the usual train? I thought they didn't carry all that many people. It doesn't seem like a viable target to me, but I have not ridden a train in years. Now on the other hand I certainly think nuclear/chemical plants DO need security. How much do they typically have now? I had hoped nuclear plants were somewhat secure.

A train does not have to carry people to be a high value target for terrorists, because human casualties is only one factor of a terrorist cells plan depending on their motivation. Killing many people in a train wreck while gruesome and extremely effective in causing massive destruction, is only the human factor and only a psychological blow through the use of media.

Have you ever seen a train wreck? I have seen many in reading of AmTrack disasters, as well as having studied war history, during WWII trains were huge targets, because they were transportating not only humans, but supplies to the battlefront from the rear, moving machinery and weapons, and tanks as well as other military supplies.

Now factor is that terrorists are at war with America, everything becomes a target, not because our railroads are necessarily transporting weapons, soldiers, or military supplies, but instead because they are transportating our food to the grocery stores, lumber to the stores, and cars going from the factory to the dealerships.

In war, cutting off your enemies supply line, is one effective way of hurting them massively. As well as this, when a train is wrecked, whether through operator error or by design through sabotage, it creates a chokepoint where traffic is jammed up for hours while the railroad is trying to investigate the mess to determine causation of the wreck, find bodies, and salvage anything possible for their customers.

posted on Mar, 29 2009 @ 04:44 PM
reply to post by SpartanKingLeonidas

The thought of the railways in the United States being a terrorist target has been in the back of our governments mind since the 1980s at least. It has been specualated as to what type of trains would be considered targets. The government has got this thought since the March of 2004 attacks on the Spanish National Railway in Madrid. It's not that much of a long shot as to an attack occuring on our railway system here. However, not all of our trackage here is not devoted to passenger service. Most trackage here is strictly dedicated to freight service. In turn, this dedication to freight service puts a strain on passenger traffic. What most people don't understand is the amount of highly populated urban areas that most freight lines go through.

During World War II, the railroads here were a high value target for Nazi saboteurs. The reason being was that the railroads were the supply lines for items like petroleum products, weapons, ammunitions, and personnel transports. Not only were the supply trains a high valued target, the troop trains were also high on the target list. Perhaps the most famous case of would be sabotuers were the German sabotage squads that were broken up on Long Island and in Florida.

Perhaps most shocking were the small German sabotage squads that landed in June 1942 on Long Island, New York and Ponte Vedra, Florida. Having lived in the United States before the war, the eight men spoke fluent English, knew American customs, and had been trained at a special sabotage school near Berlin. The teams landed in rubber rafts launched from U-boats and carried a large supply of explosives and incendiaries, intent on targeting aluminum plants, river locks, and rail lines.

Railway Sabotage

This day and time may bring completely new ways and methods to commit sabotage to the railways. The attacks on the Spanish National Railway a few years ago did show how vulnerable our mass transit systems are to a terrorist attack. The problem that I see with that foresight is that our mass rail passenger system is not the only viable target. Our freight railroads are a valuable target that terrorists can take out. I for one do believe that there is some terrorist cell or group out there that is hell bent on disrupting our railway system.

However, there is a case from 1995 that has not been completely solved by the N.T.S.B. This would be the case of the derailment of Amtrak train #1, the Sunset Limited, in the Arizona Desert just north of Phoenix on October 9, 1995. The sabotuers removed the joint bolts connecting two rails just before a bridge minutes, possibly hours before the train went over that section of track. Also, the reason why the removed parts were not detected was due to the electrical bypass of the warning system by placing and the soddering of the wires to the rails. You see, each rail acts as an electrical circuit to each signal. If that connection is broken, then the signaling system would have detected the problem. However, it leads me to believe that whoever caused this accident knew what they were doing.

As for your question regarding train wrecks and reading reports of them. I myself have seen the after effects of a train wreck in my state a few times in my life. The first one being a four car smash up about ten miles east of me a couple years ago. This derailment involved six loaded coal cars and a broken axle on one of the cars. Even though it was a small derailment, it took about ten to eleven hours for the crews to completely clean up. However, we did have fifteen cars on a freight train derail over two years ago. This derailment did involve tank cars that wer empty at the time of the accident. If that had been a westbound derailment, these cars would have been loaded. Hence it could have wiped out over half of my county if the cars had leaked. This derailment occurred eighteen miles railroad east of me.

new topics


log in