Entries in Trains (6)


Dog Survives Being Tied to Train Tracks, Two Die

Design Pics/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) -- PETA has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a man who tied three dogs to Cleveland train tracks.

Animal control officials were called to the tracks, which run through an industrial neighborhood in Cleveland, Friday evening after a railroad employee said he saw a man tying a dog to the tracks and taking photos or video as a train passed by, police said. The bodies of the other two dogs were found nearby.

"It's got everyone upset over here that someone would do that. It's awful that someone did that to torture animals, and might be filming it," Lt. Mark Ketterer, who is leading the investigation for the Cleveland Police Department, told the Plain Dealer newspaper. The surviving dog, which is believed to be a mixed-breed Manchester terrier and is much smaller than the others, managed to avoid the train by crouching, said Leslie DeSouza, kennel manager at the Cuyahoga Animal Shelter, which is caring for the dog.

"She is doing amazing. She is healthy and happy. There is not a scratch on her anymore," DeSouza said. "When she came to us, she was very traumatized and cautious. She's still skittish but an absolute sweetheart."

The dog had no chip or identifying information on her pink collar, DeSouza said. She is expected to be placed for adoption this weekend, after a mandatory waiting period to see whether an owner comes forward.

"We have had a lot of calls and we are going to go through each one," DeSouza said. "We're going to make sure she finds a nice home."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Feds Investigating Illinois Train Derailment

File photo. (Stockbyte/Thinkstock)(TISKILWA, Ill.) -- A team of federal investigators has been dispatched to Illinois following Friday morning’s freight train derailment that forced residents of the north-central town of Tiskilwa, about 115 miles west of Chicago, to evacuate and multiple tanker cars to explode.

“We had a derailment of an Iowa Interstate freight train,” Les Grant, a spokesman for Bureau County Emergency Services, told ABC News earlier Friday. “They were hauling approximately 20 to 25 alcohol cars. As a result of the derailment a few of those cars caught on fire.”

No injuries were reported.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Amtrak Steps Up Security Following Iowa Train Sabotage

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Amtrak says it is taking additional security countermeasures after someone tried to derail a train carrying highly flammable ethanol Sunday in Iowa.

Iowa Interstate Railroad CEO Dennis Miller said a lock was cut off a track switch box just outside Menlo, a town that sits along the rail line between Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha, Neb. The track was also "gapped open" about 2 inches, and a black bag was used to cover the switch signal so the tampering would be harder to notice. Miller said the switch tampering, and the creation of the gap in the tracks, clearly indicated to him that someone was trying to derail one of the 130-car trains that were running the track last Sunday.

On Capitol Hill Tuesday, Amtrak Chief of Police John O'Connor announced that the company is expanding its comprehensive rail security efforts to provide increased right of way protection to detect and deter terrorists seeking to derail passenger trains. 

O'Connor said threats against rail transportation are very real and "[t]he recent events after the death of [Osama] bin Laden serve as a stark reminder that these threats continue to be viable." He emphasized the terrorists' interest in derailing trains is of particular worry to Amtrak, which "operates high-speed rail trains where catastrophic losses could occur."

Amtrak said the additional security countermeasures would focus first on passenger trains, particularly those operating on the Amtrak-owned Northeast corridor. Amtrak said it already had security in place, which were focused on the threat of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, in a station or on a train, or on an active shooter scenario.

Protecting stations is difficult, but protecting thousands of miles of train track is even more challenging, O'Connor said. Historically, Amtrak has used a range of security strategies, such as high security fencing, bollards, blast curtains, access control and technologically driven initiatives to protect stations, bridges and tunnels. Amtrak is exploring the expanded use of these strategies for right of way protection.

Since the U.S. raid on the bin Laden compound in Pakistan, Amtrak has bolstered track security actions, expanded patrols and reinforced employee awareness programs, O'Connor said. Journals found in bin Laden's compound after he was killed contained evidence of al Qaeda's desire to target trains and subways in the United States.

The FBI is now investigating the Iowa incident, but Bureau sources said early indications are that the incident is not a terrorism related.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Iowa Authorities Investigating Train Sabotage

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MENLO, Iowa) -- Authorities are on alert after someone apparently attempted to derail a train carrying highly flammable ethanol near the west-central Iowa city of Menlo in recent days.

“Someone could have been killed," Dennis Miller, the CEO of Iowa Interstate Railroad, told ABC News. “Ethanol won’t explode,” he said, “but it will burn.” The trains running along those tracks, he said, often carry flammable ethanol, which they load at a nearby ethanol plant.  Each train can carry up to 30,000 gallons of ethanol, “And 30,000 gallons would burn for a long time.”

Miller said a lock was cut off a track switch and track was “gapped open” about two inches. A black bag was used to cover the switch signal so the tampering would be harder to notice, he said.

Miller said the switch tampering, and the creation of the gap in the tracks, clearly indicate to him that someone was trying to derail one of the 130-car trains that were running the track last Sunday.

The railroad’s chief operating officer, Mick Burkart, said a train did successfully cross the track at the damaged switch Sunday night, but the crew noticed that something was wrong with the track and switch. They reported it to the Iowa railroad, and all traffic was shut down on the track.

The FBI is now investigating, but a Bureau source told ABC News that early indications are that the incident is not a terrorism-related.

Following the killing of Osama bin Laden in May, investigators discovered a handwritten journal kept by the al Qaeda leader that specifically noted an interest in derailing trains.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Al Qaeda Documents Raise Concerns About Rail Safety

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With the revelation that al Qaeda was considering targeting U.S. rail lines, transportation officials and experts are concerned that not enough is being done to ensure that train travel is safe.

Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said on Sunday that there should even be a "do not ride" list for Amtrak, similar to the no-fly lists that are part of the airline security effort.

Train bombings overseas, such as those that occurred in Madrid and London, are evidence of what terrorists are capable of, but the documents found in last week's raid on Osama bin Laden's compound indicated that the more likely mode of attack would be on the rails themselves, rather than a terrorist trying to get on a train with a bomb.  By tampering with the rails, the intelligence indicated, al Qaeda was hoping to send a whole train tumbling off a bridge or into a valley.

With so much of the train lines running through the wide open spaces in the U.S., there could be attractive terrorist targets.  Forty percent of the rail lines in the country have no automatic monitoring systems.  Those lines are supposed to be inspected at least twice a week, but that still can leave long stretches of track unwatched for long stretches of time.

There are 140,000 miles of freight and passenger track in the United States, not counting subway systems and light rail, as well as 3,100 train and transit stations.  There were more than four billion passenger rail trips last year from commuters rushing to work, students heading to school and families on vacation.

On any one day, 78,000 people ride Amtrak, 660,000 step on the elevated trains in Chicago, and eight million ride the New York City subway system.

In recent years, anti-terrorism deterrents have been introduced, such as additional bomb detection equipment and new vapor wake detection dogs trained to smell every possible component of explosives, which the Department of Transportation announced in late October.

A most recent record to step up the nation's rail security was seen in July when Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano launched the first phase of the agency's "See Something, Say Something" campaign, requesting the public play a role in pointing out potential railway threats.

The effort is part of a series of events called Operation Rail Safe, which includes local, state and federal efforts to increase occasional security presence onboard trains, canine sweeps, and random passenger bag inspections at unannounced locations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Al Qaeda Train Plot: Did Osama Bin Laden Personally Author?

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- American intelligence analysts are seeking an example of the handwriting of Osama bin Laden to see if it matches the handwritten document discovered in his compound that discusses a possible attack on American train lines, according to people briefed on the process.

The document was among the first pieces of evidence translated from Arabic by the CIA-FBI analysts obtained in the Navy SEAL raid because it did not require the decoding that the seized computer discs and hard drives will, according to those briefed.

"The read-out from the electronic media will take much longer," said one person.

Analysts said the proposed rail plot was dated in February, 2010 and indicates a "low-tech" sabotage operation using trees and cement blocks was being considered, suggesting al Qaeda concluded it would be difficult to obtain explosives.

A bulletin issued Thursday by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and obtained by ABC News said al Qaeda considered conducting the train attack on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

"As of February 2010, al-Qa'ida was allegedly contemplating conducting an operation against trains at an unspecified location in the United States on the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001," the document reads, using an alternate spelling for bin Laden's terror group. "As one option, al-Qa'ida was looking into trying to tip a train by tampering with the rails so that the train would fall off the track at either a valley or a bridge."

In a statement, DHS press secretary Matt Chandler stressed that the message it sent out to its rail partners about a potential al Qaeda plot was "based on initial reporting, which is often misleading and inaccurate and subject to change. We remain at a heightened state of vigilance, but do not intend to issue [a National Terrorism Advisory System] alert at this time." Chandler said the Transportation Security Administration would also send a bulletin to its rail sector stakeholders.

"We have no information of any imminent terrorist threat to the U.S. rail sector, but wanted to make our partners aware of the alleged plotting," said Chandler. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio