Freight trains are part of the scenery in the suburbs. Tank cars rumble through the middle of busy downtowns as oblivious pedestrians stand by drinking Starbucks. But just as trains are a fact of life here, so are derailments.
An average of 35 annually occurred in Illinois on mainline track, with about one-third of those in the metropolitan area, a 10-year analysis of Federal Railroad Administration data shows. Many go unnoticed by the public unless they tie up Metra trains or traffic. But other high-profile cases have caused concern, including the July 4 Union Pacific Railroad derailment in Glenview that collapsed a railroad bridge and killed a Northbrook couple; a Nov. 3, 2011, Canadian National Railway derailment near Elgin that involved cars carrying hazardous materials, none of which spilled; and a June 19, 2009, CN derailment near Rockford that caused a fire that killed a woman waiting in her car at a crossing.
What's being done to prevent or mitigate derailments?
You can read the full story in the Daily Herald's edition from Sunday, July 22, 2012, or online at dailyherald.com.