TSA: Unguarded Rail Cars 'Highest Risk' for Attack - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NC5 Investigates: The Inside Story

TSA: Unguarded Rail Cars 'Highest Risk' for Attack

There's more evidence about the potential terrorist threat highlighted in a recent NewsChannel 5 investigation.

USA Today reports, "The government for the first time will monitor rail shipments of potentially deadly cargo passing through cities to make sure cars vulnerable to attack don't sit unguarded for too long."

The newspaper notes that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) "will start a nationwide tracking system in about a month to determine how long rail cars filled with lethal materials are stopped on tracks or sit in unsecured storage yards in urban areas."

The reports are apparently based on testimony last week by TSA Administrator Kip Hawley.  He told a Senate committee:

"We identified railcars loaded with toxic inhalation hazard materials (TIH) sitting unattended as the highest risk potential as a terrorist target. While these shipments represent less than one percent of all rail shipments, if attacked they could create an airborne hazard and potentially endanger the lives of people living and working in those communities."

Here is what my "Toxic Targets" investigation revealed:

Using Sky 5, we took Millar -- who helped Washington, D.C., develop its homeland security plans -- up to survey the risk that Nashville faces.

From the air, we spotted chlorine tankers scattered across the city -- one in Radnor Yard just south of downtown.

There were also tankers of the deadly sulfur dioxide, as well as anhydrous ammonia. One was parked right off of Nolensville Road.

Add to that tankers of liquid propane gas  -- the highly explosive chemical that leveled much of downtown Waverly nearly 30 years ago -- and poison gases whose names are almost unpronounceable.

"The cargoes go right through downtown, Miller notes. "In fact, they sort of circle, loop around downtown in Nashville.  They go right next to all of your major buildings."

Perhaps most alarming: in the shadow of the state Capitol and other downtown buildings, a white, chlorine tanker sat completely unattended for more than two hours.

"A cloud could inundate this whole area," Millar adds.

On the ground, we found a disturbing example: two tankers filled with ammonia, right next to a tanker filled with chlorine.

Then, there are the incredibly dangerous chemicals, sitting right on the edge of downtown Nashville at a Metro Water services facility.  (Downtown Sewage Plant Could Be Toxic Target)

Even though Homeland Security officials are worried about terrorists using such chemicals, Metro Water official insist that a fence and one armed guard are enough to protect the city.

Back to The Inside Story
Back to NewsChannel 5 Investigates

Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.