Nuclear Waste Aboard? Railroad Crashes USA

WASHINGTON -- With irradiated (spent) fuel rods from Navy ship reactors on the rails, statistics on railroad crashes take on a new significance.

The Federal Railway Administration reports that last year there were 3,500 collisions at highway rail crossings. In the U.S. about every 100 minutes a train collides with a person or a vehicle.

Locomotive engineer, Ken Gillsdorf, told National Public Radio, "you could probably have a grade crossing crash or hit a trespasser every trip. We have a lot of close calls every trip." No records are kept of close calls, but over 50% of crashes at public grade crossings occur where active warning devices exist.

Rail workers say there are two kinds of people that operate trains: "those that have been in a collision and those that are gonna to be in one."

One engineer said, "I've hit everything from an airplane, to a truck, bus, snow mobile, a four-wheeler, a three-wheeler, a bicycle, and a snowplow, and also a tanker."

--Michael Ivey, for NPR's All Things Considered, July 5, 1999.