First it was loud train horns in the middle of the night, now it’s long trains in downtown Riverside and at 26th Street that stop for long periods of time, which disrupt traffic on Harlem Avenue and ambulances going to area hospitals. 

What should concern you even more, in case you haven’t noticed, are long processions of black tanker cars on these freight trains. According to a recent article in Time magazine, these tanker cars, which are black with small gold stripes, carry extremely flammable oil from North Dakota to the eastern refineries. 

They were originally routed through areas of Chicago, but Chicago was able to change their routes to the suburbs. The article in Time states that these cars do not presently meet full safety standards and they have been given an extensive amount of time to correct this. They do not have proper requirements to insure their full safety including proper venting. 

This means that if the tanker should derail or be struck by something, it will most likely explode. There have been two derailments in the U.S. involving these tankers. Both times they exploded, and one was near a children’s museum, which was closed, thank God. 

No injuries in the U.S. yet, but recently in Canada one exploded and killed over 40 people. I have often counted over 100 tankers per train. I guess our government is afraid to put pressure on the oil companies for immediate revision of safety requirements on these tankers. 

If you are not concerned about these “time bombs” coming through your town, you should be. If you are, you may want to email or write to your representatives, senators, village presidents, anyone who you think can help. Safety should be the most important, not the price of oil. 

Edward Jana

Riverside