CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is urging the railroad industry to help prevent future train derailments that might be caused by extreme heat by conducting more frequent track inspections.
Durin pointed to the recent derailment of a Union Pacific freight train that might have been the result of rails buckling in the heat earlier this month, also known as a sun kink.
“When it’s an extremely hot day and the sun is beating down on the track, it occasionally causes (the track) to distort and get wavy,” he explained.
A Glenview couple, Burton and Zorine Lindner, was killed when the train derailed and a rail bridge collapsed along the border between north suburban Glenview and Northbrook, crushing their car under the rubble.
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Durbin predicted further extreme temperatures lie ahead in the month of August, which could pose more danger for railroads.
So in a letter, he’s asking the Association of American Railroads to heed suggestions made by the Federal Railroad Administration.
“We want to make sure the trains moving freight and chemicals and hazardous waste, whatever it may be, are moving safely near and through our communities,” he said.
The FRA’s advisory suggests railroads should complete regular inspections, and especially keep communities aware of tracks’ conditions.
Durbin says, in the last month, there’ve been a total of four train derailments caused by excessive heat, one of them the wreck that killed the Lindners. The others caused an estimated $5 million in damage.
So far, Durbin says the National Transportation and Safety Board is only in the early stages of deciding whether to investigate the