Since the assassination of Osama Bin Laden approximately one week ago, the media has revealed examples of purported terrorist plots supposedly targeting America’s railways. However, all I have seen in the news pertains to passenger cars. I understand that any threat against innocent American citizens, especially located on American soil, is extremely frightening for all of us to imagine. The far wiser target, though, would be freight trains and the yards they use.
My message today is designed to spread awareness on the most vulnerable areas of our local freight system. Most of us are aware that Chicago/Illinois is the central transportation hub for the continental United States. Nearly all freight from the East coast on its way to the West coast is transported by CSX to Chicago/Illinois, switched over to Union Pacific and sent on to its delivery location out west. In the same way freight from the West coast heading to the East coast uses Chicago/Illinois to switch in the opposite direction.
There are a number of vital train yards in the Chicagoland area. Each of these train yards are identified by a specific name. I am going to focus on the two yards that carry the largest potential for creating a massive interruption in freight, commuter and even automobile transportation. It would take months if not years to fully restore things back to normal should either of these two yards come under attack. It need hardly be added that we Americans rely on our freight system for nearly everything that we purchase in stores, such as clothes, food, lumber, fuel, automobiles and medical supplies.