Starting almost 40 years ago, terrorist organizations in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia have targeted railway systems as sites for their despicable attacks on the civilized world. Attacks that were fully executed have claimed hundreds of lives and injured thousands more. Some fear that attacks in Western Europe, such as the horrific Madrid train bombing, are harbingers of what’s to come in the United States if the proper security measures are not taken.

Too close for comfort

It’s no secret that terrorists have their sights on various soft targets in America, which include a number of un- and under-defended places which may be preyed upon with adequate planning and preparation. One need only look back to the arrests of suspects who planned to bomb the New York Subway and Washington, D.C. Metro to see that terrorists view rail systems in the U.S. as bull’s-eyes at which to aim. 

American freight trains carrying volatile substances such as crude oil, ethanol, and hazardous materials have also been spotted on the nefarious wish-lists of notorious terrorists such as Osama bin Laden. In the latest terrorist arrests, a duo connected to Al Qaeda and terrorist elements in Iran was caught planning to murder innocent people by derailing a passenger train traveling between Canada and the United States.

Can attacks be prevented?

Since trains can be derailed without using sophisticated explosives by merely removing spikes from the track or placing foreign objects on the rails, this means that critical steps must be taken to prevent terrorist attacks. These include:

  • Developing a fiber optic tamper-monitoring system to detect loosening of track components
  • Increasing monitoring of key targets such as bridges and tunnels
  • Improving public awareness through see-something-say-something style campaigns 

While vigilance against terrorism is necessary, many Americans are injured every day in much more mundane accidents on the rails. Anyone injured in a rail-related accident deserves excellent legal representation as they pursue their claims for compensation.