Monday, September 29, 2008

Reader Comment 9-29-08

I had a quick response to today’s blog about the new technology that Dow Chemical is using to track TIH railcars. In that blog I commented that this technology might enable us to do away with placards on TIH railcars; this would reduce somewhat the risk of a terrorist attack on those cars. A sharp reader, Gablehouse, made the following comment:


  • “Only if you can be certain that rural responders can actually receive electronic notices.  We are a long ways away from reliable electronic communication for this purpose in the rural West.”

Gablehouse has a very good point, and it is not just out west that rural areas suffer less than adequate cell phone coverage. I know from personal experience that there are many places in the rural South that suffer from the same problem, though it is not as wide spread as it is in the inter-mountain west.


One possible solution would be to require TIH train cars and trucks to carry an emergency radio that would start a low-power broadcast on a selected frequency to warn first responders of leaks, pressure build-up, or even tampering with tank closures.


We need to come up with some method of removing these tank markings from TIH shipments that does not compromise first responder safety at an accident or incident. Markings like these on TIH rail cars and over the road tank wagons make it easier for potential terrorists to identify high-value targets.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile the low-hanging fruit is re-routing.  Which the railroads have so far successfully thwarted, leaving 60 major target cities vulnerable to a terrorist attack with hazmat cargoes which railroad insurers have said could cost $10 billion.  The railroads can only buy $1 Billion in insurance, they said to the STB.  

Ready for another bailout?  

Even John McCain is in favor of re-routing, it seems.  That is, he favors bringing all the US nuclear waste cross-country to the Yucca Mountain site near Las Vegas Nevada, but said he does not want it to go through his Arizona cities.  So he must have looked at the Western railroad map that clearly shows the available re-route for westbound shipments to avoid Arizona would jog north at El Paso (UP)  and Albuquerque (BNSF), go through Pueblo CO on BNSF, turn west again at Denver on UP to Provo/Salt Lake City, then southwest on UP to the Las Vegas area.   Since DOE thinks the nuclear transportation casks are almost invulnerable, they should not have any problem accomodating McCain on this one???  No one asked Denver yet.  

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