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U.S. Senator Calls for Feds to Spot-Check Railroad Bridges

(Washington, DC – July 9, 2012)

United States Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) issued a request Monday for the federal government, through the USDOT/FRA, to perform spot-checks on railroad infrastructure in the aftermath of the collapse of a Union Pacific bridge in Glenview, IL in which two prominent and popular residents died during a massive derailment.

The senior Senator from Illinois said he wants the FRA to check on parts of the railroad that might be problematic, whether it’s a weather situation or a change in traffic volume.

Prominent Chicago Attorney Burton Lindner and his wife, Zorine Lindner, were found dead in the remains of their new Lexus, buried in a mountain of coal and railroad equipment, nearly 24 hours after a Union Pacific coal train somehow caused the collapse of the railroad overpass at Shermer Avenue in north suburban Chicago Glenview, IL July 4.

Durbin emphasized that railroad accidents are the responsibility of the railroad and not state, local or federal government. Yet, with railroads involved in interstate commerce, he wants to get the FRA involved in bridge inspections which is currently self-policed by individual railroads.

“I know there’s a big ask because at the federal level we have restriction of funds,” said Durbin. “But this tragic accident is a reminder of the vulnerability we have when infrastructure fails.”

In response, Union Pacific Public Relations Manager Mark Davis said UP wouldn’t mind the additional safety checks.