After excessive heat was cited as a factor in the recent Union Pacific train derailment and bridge collapse at the Northbrook-Glenview border, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) today called for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to step up efforts to ensure that railroads have the proper training, inspection plans and protocol to deal with excessive weather events -- like last week's extreme heat. They also urged FRA to make their investigation into what caused the derailment and bridge collapse open and transparent so that local communities have access to information regarding the safety and welfare of local residents.
"The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has a responsibility to promote and regulate the safety of railroads so freight rail traffic can move safely through communities like Glenview and Northbrook," wrote the Senators. "We encourage you to work with UP and other railroads to make sure they are prepared for extreme weather like we experienced last week. We also encourage you to continue the investigation you have initiated and to work with local and state officials to make sure we have a full understanding of why this happened and can take steps to prevent an accident like this from ever happening again."
The Union Pacific train had three locomotive engines and 31 of its 138 train cars carrying coal derailed. The derailment caused the collapse of the bridge at Willow and Shermer roads along the border of Northbrook, Illinois and Glenview, Illinois which resulted in two fatalities. A train derailed in the same area in November 2009 after hitting another train. Eighteen cars were derailed in that incident.