Durbin, Kirk: FRA Takes Action to Increase Track Safety During Extreme Weather Events

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) commended the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for stepping up efforts to increase track safety during extreme weather events – like the excessive heat earlier this month that caused a Union Pacific train derailment and bridge collapse at the Northbrook-Glenview border.  Earlier today, the FRA issued a safety advisory which contained guidance that would help ensure railroads and safety agencies are adequately inspecting their tracks to identify and address areas particularly prone to heat buckling.


“I hope this guidance will make certain the railroads review their preparedness for extreme weather and take every precaution possible to avoid another horrible tragedy like the one that occurred in Illinois just over a week ago,” said Durbin.  “We will continue to monitor the progress that the Federal Railroad Administration is making in its investigation of the Union Pacific derailment and ensure that it continues to be an open and transparent process.”


“The frequency of weather-related freight derailments is alarming, and the Federal Railroad Administrations safety advisory rightly urges railroads to remain vigilant to ensure track safety,” a spokesman for Senator Kirk said.  “As the investigation into the Northbrook/Glenview accident continues, it is our hope that the end result is a better understanding of how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.”


Last week, Durbin and Kirk sent a letter to the FRA Administrator, Joe Szabo urging him to increase efforts to ensure that railroads have the proper training, inspection plans and protocol to deal with excessive weather events.  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.